Young Raiders up to task: Furner - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Young Raiders up to task: Furner

By Steve Jancetic 02/09/2010 02:52:42 PM Comments (0)

Canberra coach David Furner claims his young side's exciting navigation of the NRL finals tightrope is proof enough the 'Baby Raiders' won't be overawed in Friday's vital clash against Brisbane at a packed Suncorp Stadium.

Needing a win to confirm a once improbable finals berth, Furner said his troops were accustomed to playing pressure football, having strung together seven wins from their last eight games.

Their four most recent matches have all been played with the knowledge that one slip would prove fatal to their final chances, but the youthful side have responded like seasoned campaigners with top three sides St George Illawarra and Penrith amongst their scalps.

"If you have a look at the last four or five weeks, we've been playing that sort of football where we've had to win games and keep winning, and they've responded quite well," Furner said.

"The build up's coming along nicely ... there will be anticipation, the feeling of big crowd, big game.

"I've said to the players, these are the games you want to be involved in."

For many in the Raiders ranks, Friday night will represent the biggest stage on which they have performed.

Normally an outcast on free-to-air television, Canberra's late surge has left them squarely in a spotlight the likes of Josh Dugan, Jarrod Croker, Daniel Vidot, Glenn Buttriss, Shaun Fensom and Josh McCrone have yet to experience.

Skipper Terry Campese, who players will look to for leadership even more than normal with co-captain Alan Tongue out with a calf injury, said it was vital the Raiders didn't go into the match thinking they can rely on other results.

Should they lose to the Broncos by 14 points or less, Canberra will still finish the weekend in eighth spot if South Sydney fail to beat minor premiers the Dragons.

"We've got to take it into our own hands because if we leave it up to anyone else, we might not be there next week," Campese said.

"We've got to definitely go up there with the attitude to win.

"I think it's going to be exciting times for the whole squad. We haven't played in such a big game before and what we've been hearing is it's going to a big crowd.

"It's going to be exciting for all the young guys and I'm sure everyone's up to it."

Furner said he was yet to decide on the final make-up of his bench, revealing that young hooker Travis Waddell was still in some doubt with a shoulder injury.

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