26 June 2020

Raiders focus on adding another dimension in attack against the Eels

| Michael Djordjieski
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Canberra Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson

Canberra Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson will play a key role in helping the Green Machine get back their attacking mojo against the Paramatta Eels tonight. Photo: File.

The Canberra Raiders were far from potent in attack last weekend when they lost 14-6 against the Manly Sea Eagles, but the Green Machine will be looking to turn it around and re-establish their credentials when they take on one of the in-form sides of the competition, the Paramatta Eels, tonight (June 27) at Bankwest Stadium.

The Raiders won’t be alone in coming off a loss. The previously unbeaten Eels suffered their first L of the 2020 campaign when they faced the back-to-back premiers, the Sydney Roosters.

‘One dimensional’ would be one way to describe the Raiders performance in round six but you can be sure Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has done all he can to prepare the team to avoid a repeat of last week’s performance.

You would hope to see Stuart’s backline more involved in plays near the tryline against a very good Eels side because, at the moment, it doesn’t seem like they are being utilised enough, which is crazy given the talent the Raiders have across the board.

Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson picked out his team’s struggles going forward against the Sea Eagles and another tough test awaits them tonight.

“To state the obvious, we were a bit clunky in attack on the weekend,” Hodgson said.

“We probably had every opportunity to beat Manly with their injuries and they were down to 15 men for the majority of the game,” Hodgson said.

“We have another tough test in Paramatta who are playing some really good footy this year and have been a very good defensive team from what we have seen so far so it’s a good test for us again this weekend.”

Fellow co-captain Jarrod Croker came agonisingly close to opening his try-scoring account for the season having been prevented by the bunker last weekend. He says his outfit have been identifying areas to work on in attack as questions surrounding that area of their game have popped up.

“There are a few little things after looking at some video yesterday in different areas, but we also looked at five opportunities that we blew,” Croker said.

“If I had scored that try and then Rapa had one or even two in the corner, that’s three tries right there that nine times out of 10 we probably score and then we’re not talking about [a loss]. If we take more of our opportunities that did present themselves then it’s a different story.”

Croker has been in great spirits following the side’s loss to the Sea Eagles after recently becoming a father for the first time.

“I feel very blessed, it’s been a great week,” Croker said. “The little fella and Brittney are doing very well and I couldn’t be happier.

Coach Ricky Stuart has named an unchanged team for the encounter with the Eels.

Canberra Raiders round seven team list vs Paramatta Eels

1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Jordan Rapana, 3. Jarrod Croker (C), 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Nick Cotric, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. George Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson (C), 10. Sia Soliola, 11. Joe Tapine, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Corey Horsburgh, 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Emre Guler, 16. Ryan Sutton, 17. Hudson Young.


18. Bailey Simonsson, 19. Dunamis Lui, 20. Matt Frawley, 21. Tom Starling.


John Bateman – Shoulder – Indefinite.

The Eels (2nd) take on the Raiders (5th) tonight at Bankwest Stadium in Campbelltown at 7:35 pm. To watch the match, visit the Raiders.

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