Raiders wary of blue Bulldogs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Raiders wary of blue Bulldogs

By Ben Horne And Matt Sadler 19/05/2011 08:12:03 PM Comments (0)

Canberra captain Alan Tongue says the Raiders will need to watch out for a Canterbury backlash to State of Origin snubs in Friday night's NRL clash at Canberra Stadium.

Tongue said the absences of Raider Josh Dugan and Bulldog Michael Ennis to NSW duties would cancel themselves out, and was more concerned about the players the Blues decided not to pick.

Centre Jamal Idris was considered particularly unlucky to miss the cut for Ricky Stuart's side after being picked for Australia just a couple of weeks ago - and he'll have something to prove to selectors.

While stat-king prop Aiden Tolman and the Bulldogs' other centre Josh Morris would still appear to be in the frame for a call-up depending on how the rest of the series plays out for the Blues.

Canberra broke an eight-match losing streak by upsetting Melbourne at AAMI Park last week, but Tongue said that will count for little if they can't back up the performance against the Bulldogs - who were gallant in their defeat to St George Illawarra last week.

The Raiders know they have the potential to get on a roll but Tongue warns they'll face no tougher test than a Canterbury team with plenty to prove.

"They'll be playing with a little bit more purpose than they had, although they're consistent performers," he said.

"What they played with last week they'll do again. Aiden Tolman, tremendous workload there ... and Idris, he'll have a point to prove."

Tongue said he'd stressed the importance of Friday's clash in the context of the Raiders struggling, but not lost season hopes.

"It's a chance to really get our season back on track, that's for sure. We just need to do whatever we can to get this win," he said.

"If we don't win tomorrow night it makes it all irrelevant and it takes the shine off the win that we had last week.

"When you build that confidence you've got to hang onto it and you've got to bottle it and you've got to build it up again and produce it."

As well as being without key attacking weapon Dugan, the Raiders are missing Origin-level forwards Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and David Shillington through injury.

Danny Galea has also been ruled out of the side with a hamstring side, allowing for Joe Picker to make an earlier than expected return from an ankle injury.

Former Bulldog Nathan Massey in just his second NRL appearance, will take Dugan's spot at fullback.

"They're without Ennis. We're without Dugan. So it's a fair little match-up there," continued Tongue.

"We do miss his spark. Often we create half-chances and Doogs is one of those players who'll finish them off or get the ball to the space where it's needed. So we are going to miss that. But we're real confident in what Mass can do at the back."

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