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Favourable draw not a focus for Raiders

June 30th, 2015, 04:28 PM
Skipper Jarrod Croker is taking no solace in the fact Canberra will play just one top-eight team for the rest of the NRL season.

The Raiders have a bye this week, before clashes with Newcastle, Cronulla, Penrith, North Queensland, Wests Tigers, Manly and Gold Coast.

They face Penrith again in round 25, then close out the season against Parramatta.

Of those opponents, only the second-placed Cowboys currently hold a spot in the eight.

"I didn't even know that," a frank Croker said on Tuesday.

"But we're at a stage where it's entirely up to us - we can't be looking at who we're playing in seven or eight weeks' time.

"It's got to be a week-at-a-time thing for us, and we've got to start by winning at home next Friday night (against the Knights)."

Canberra sit 11th on the ladder, one of a trio of sides with a 6-9 win loss record.

They've dropped the two games since their last bye, against the Cowboys and Warriors, but Croker feels a finals berth is a real possibility.

"It's just up to us now to train well, prepare well, every week," he said.

"I think (the bye has come at the right time).

"We've had two pretty big games there in regards to energy and done a lot of defence as well ... so it's good to get back and have a few days off to freshen up a bit."

Croker admitted there'd been a few missed opportunities in the first half of the season but added that the Raiders were still a work in progress.

"I think we've come together well as a team but there's still a lot of areas we need to work on," he said.

"We've had 15 games together and it doesn't just click overnight - we've had some good times and some tough times as well.

"But I think we're definitely growing."

Their latest recruit, Joseph Leilua, made his debut off the bench at the weekend and cousin Sia Soliola said the former Knights centre had gelled well with the side.

"Some of the guys here have taken him out and showed them around Canberra and he's had a few games of golf ... he's liking what he sees," he said.

More: http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=9003071


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