Rugby League


Blueprint for Raiders to break Manly

It's the blueprint that helped NRL struggler Gold Coast conquer ''Fortress Brookvale'' in the upset of the season.

And Titans assistant coach Trevor Gillmeister believes Canberra must adopt a similar ''get up in their faces'' mentality if it is to pull off a shock win at Brookvale Oval tomorrow.

Three weeks ago the Titans defied a five-game losing streak to beat the Sea Eagles 26-14, ending Manly's 11-game unbeaten run at its home ground.

Gold Coast placed plenty of focus on defensive line speed, and blunting Manly's potent attacking arsenal by limiting its time and space.

''It wasn't rocket science, just pretty basic footy where we tried not to go side to side as much,'' Gillmeister told The Canberra Times yesterday.

''We wanted to play them through the middle, but also with plenty of support play so they couldn't get numbers into the tackle.


''Defensively you have to be up in their face a bit, because when they get into rhythm and things are going their way, they'll put you under the pump.

''The Raiders' strength is through their forwards, and Dave [Furner, Raiders coach] has probably already told his forwards to give it to their pack, because that's the type of game they relish.''

Cronulla effectively ground Canberra down last week, using a simple but effective risk-free brand of football in its 44-22 win.

And Gillmeister said the Raiders should adopt a similar principle and sacrifice flair for defensive attitude.

''We forced a couple of mistakes out of them too which is unlike Manly, a couple of good shots just hitting around the ball,'' he said.

''The ball's always a bit greasy at Brookie, even on a dry day, and by forcing a few mistakes that frustrated them.

''It got them out of their comfort zone because it's something they're not used to, no one's unbeatable in this competition.''

Gillmeister said the Titans' approach would only work if Canberra limited its defensive workload through a high completion rate.

The Raiders were forced into 127 extra tackles against Cronulla last week, which blunted their attack.

''It's a snowball effect, when you're doing too much tackling your support play goes out the window, and then they can get numbers in the tackle and slow you down,'' Gillmeister said.

''It happened to Canberra last week, who tried to play catch-up footy and throw the ball around in their own quarter and it didn't come off.''

Furner highlighted line speed as the key ingredient to producing a boilover the Raiders (3-5) desperately need after heavy losses to Brisbane and Cronulla.

''What the Titans did very well [against Manly] defensively was take away their metres, their line speed was pretty consistent all game and I thought that put pressure on them,'' Furner said.

''We have to make good decisions and it starts with your line speed, and it has to be all the way up the field.''


NRL round nine: Manly Sea Eagles v Canberra Raiders at Brookvale Oval, 2pm.

TV time: Live on Fox Sports 2.