Rugby League


Shillo's a big fan of Furner's grog ban

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The Canberra Raiders' senior leadership group has endorsed coach David Furner's decision to enforce a booze ban in a bid to end their inconsistent form.

And the club's stand-in captain is leading by example, Test and Origin front-rower David Shillington revealing he hasn't had a drink since the start of the NRL season.

The Raiders have sworn off alcohol for the next three weeks as they look to build momentum ahead of their first bye of the competition.

''I think Furnsey came up with it, obviously the senior players are behind it as well,'' Shillington said.

''There will be a few blokes that might be put out a bit if they have functions coming up, but I'd like to think people push that aside and work towards the common goal of winning games.''

After Sunday's match against the Cronulla Sharks at Canberra Stadium, the Raiders face the Manly Sea Eagles (away) and the Parramatta Eels (home) in what shapes as a critical period for their finals aspirations.


At their best, the Raiders have shown they are capable of matching it with any side, tearing apart the Gold Coast Titans (24-12), the Wests Tigers (30-16) and the New Zealand Warriors (32-12), while also going within five points of toppling the imposing Melbourne Storm, losing 24-19 in the season opener.

Sandwiched in between have been disappointing losses to the Sydney Roosters (14-8), North Queensland Cowboys (22-6) and most recently, the Brisbane Broncos (30-6).

''We're trying to tick all the boxes at the moment and do whatever it takes to string some wins together,'' Shillington said.

''We've been a bit hot and cold.

''Part of being professional is taking care of yourself off the field.

''We just want to make sure that alcohol isn't inhibiting any players or games at the moment.

''We're working so hard at training and the coaches are working so hard that we don't want any of those outside factors inhibiting our performances.''

Shillington conceded a handful of players celebrated too hard after the team's big win against the Warriors and struggled with the five-day break leading into the Broncos game.

The Raiders led the Broncos 6-0 before leaking 30 unanswered points.

''A few boys had a beer after that game [against the Warriors] and probably didn't have the best preparation leading into the Broncos game,'' he said.

''Players were looking a bit fatigued and I think we ran out of gas.

''If you lay off the alcohol … it's just one less distraction for us and one way we can have a bit more energy in our games.''

Shillington doesn't expect the ban to last the rest of the season and said it didn't reflect a drinking culture at the club, but said his own abstinence would continue after enjoying a stellar start to the year which led to representing the Kangaroos against New Zealand last week.

''I've had nine weeks off. I'll stick with that for a while because I'm getting the rewards from it,'' he said. ''Every season I stay off it for a bit to get my fitness levels up.

''I've been rewarded for it personally with my extra game time and getting re-selected for Australia.''