Raiders eye sixth spot - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Raiders eye sixth spot

By Peter Veness 06/09/2008 02:55:25 PM Comments (0)

In a season filled with a staggering injury toll, the dramatic sacking of Todd Carney and a couple of hefty suspensions, Canberra have proved the naysayers wrong.

The Raiders were the wooden spoon favourites at the start of the NRL season, but Sunday afternoon they host the Bulldogs assured of a place in the finals.

The `Dogs have copped a similar amount of drama, thanks chiefly to Sonny Bill Williams, but have been unable to shrug it off.

Raiders coach Neil Henry has admitted there had been the odd moment of reflection in the nation's capital.

"Certainly we're pretty happy with some things we've been able to achieve," Henry said.

"We have different expectations from other people about being competitive in the competition."

Henry has named an unchanged lineup despite the Raiders' loss to North Queensland last round. Cy Lasscock and Ben Jones have been added to an extended bench.

For the Dogs it is a final opportunity to send coach Steve Folkes and hooker Corey Hughes off with respect. Folkes, too, has not changed his side.

Raiders prop Dane Tilse said the side had spent time in the past week talking about the need for momentum heading into the finals.

"It's important we have a really good win, we've got that sixth spot carrot dangling in front of us," Tilse said.

The Raiders need to win by 17 points to claim sixth spot and a likely final against Cronulla at Shark Park.

"The momentum is so important for us going into the semis and a loss last week means we need a good game to get back on track."

Canberra hooker Ryan Hinchliffe drew a parallel between his side and the Dogs.

"They've had a bit of a disruptive season like us, on paper they're as good as just about any side going around but they've struggled a little bit with their form," Hinchcliffe said.

"We have to play a really tight game and not give them anything."

Allowing himself just a moment to look forward to next week, Hinchcliffe hinted at the Raiders' plans to upset the bookies one more time.

"It's all about confidence. It's wide open and once you get to the finals it can be anyone's."

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