Rugby League

Canberra Raiders coach Mick Mantelli to bow out at end of season

Canberra Raiders under-20s coach Mick Mantelli is hopeful Sunday's elimination final against Wests Tigers in Sydney won't be his swansong after confirming he will leave at the end of the season. 

Raiders under-20 coach Mick Mantelli will leave the side after their finals campaign.
Raiders under-20 coach Mick Mantelli will leave the side after their finals campaign.  Photo: Stuart Walmsley

Personal reasons have prompted Mantelli to pull the pin after three years at the helm. 

"It's time for a change," he said. "I'm not sure if they've appointed anyone, there's a few people around like Simon Woolford and Brett White, my assistant, who would be a great fit for them."

After a six-week stretch late in the season where they conceded more than 300 points, the Raiders squeezed into eighth spot after finding some semblance of form in the past fortnight. 

Their second half in the round 25 loss to minor premier Penrith was solid, before finishing off the regular season with a 44-18 win at Parramatta. 

Captain Luke Bateman returns to the forward pack after a few weeks playing first grade, and the Raiders are looking for a third win in as many games against the Tigers. 

The two sides have a fierce rivalry after the Tigers won the 2012 grand final 46-6 and their brawl at Campbelltown in 2013 which saw four players charged by the judiciary. 

New Zealand Warriors won the competition from eighth last year, and Mantelli said it gave them belief it wasn't impossible to follow suit. 

"One-hundred per cent, especially in twenties," Mantelli said. "North Queensland and Penrith have been the standouts but anything can happen in finals."

Former Raiders assistant coach Brett Kimmorley is at the helm of the Tigers twenties, adding further spice to the clash. 

"He'd know a few of our players and he's pretty experienced, he knows what he's on about and he's got a good team," Mantelli said. "We've beaten them twice this year but it counts for nothing when it comes to semis." 

​HOLDEN CUP

Sunday: Under-20s elimination final: Wests Tigers v Canberra Raiders at SFS, 1.30pm