Ailing Raiders heading for joyless ground - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ailing Raiders heading for joyless ground

Melissa Woods 13/05/2011 06:26:21 PM Comments (0)

Sydney hosted the Olympics and petrol was around a dollar a litre the last time Canberra won an NRL game in Melbourne.

Despite the Raiders' long drought in the Victorian capital and their shocking start to this season - losing their past eight matches (nine will be a new club record) - the Storm believe they are in for a tough battle at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon.

"They're going to be very desperate," said Melbourne football manager Frank Ponissi.

"They'll be fired up ... their coach David Furner has copped an incredible amount of undeserved flak this week so I'm sure they'll rally behind him to show their respect."

The Storm are wary of former club stalwarts in the Canberra line-up, prop Brett White and halfback Matt Orford, who was with Melbourne before Manly.

Usually a contender for a Blues Origin jersey, White is a victim of the Raiders' poor form.

"There's always a bit of rivalry between our clubs and we don't expect anything different.

"Especially now with Brett White, I've no doubt he's going to be fired up and wanting to have a big game against his old club."

Melbourne will look to shut down Canberra fullback Josh Dugan, who will be desperate to impress NSW selectors against the Storm's Queensland and Test custodian Billy Slater.

Dugan didn't play in the Raiders' disappointing 20-0 loss to Manly on Monday night due to a boil under his arm and will replace Nathan Massey.

Storm centre Beau Champion announced on Friday he had signed a three-year deal with Gold Coast Titans, which Ponissi said was no surprise.

"He told us from day one if he wasn't in Sydney that the Gold Coast was the only other place he'd go to for family reasons," he said.

A ready-made replacement for Champion could be former Storm centre Will Chambers, who is contemplating his rugby union future with the Queensland Reds.

Ponissi said they spoke to Chambers when he watched their recent match against the Broncos but it had gone no further.

"He's sorting out his future and whether he wants to stay in rugby or not so at this stage we haven't spoken about a return," he said.

"Down the track, who knows, but at this stage he's got a decision to make."

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