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Cross-code comfort: Mowen caught up in Raiders' mania

AN AUCKLAND-based side crushed their finals dream, but Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen believes escaping the Canberra fishbowl will help the Raiders avoid the same fate against the Warriors on Sunday.

The Brumbies only required a bonus point in its final-round clash with the struggling Blues at Canberra Stadium, but were left shattered after a 30-16 defeat.

Mowen said the pain of that loss would never leave him, and conceded in hindsight there were telltale signs the Brumbies' attitude was lacking.

The Raiders face a similar situation ahead of their final round game against the slumping Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium, a match they may need to win to book a finals berth should earlier results not go their way.

A $17 chance just to make the top eight a month ago, the Raiders have won their last four games.

Canberra is abuzz with their late season revival, and Mowen said being able to escape the hype is a huge positive.


The Raiders have performed well away from home this year, having won six from 11, including their last three road games.

''As much as you say there aren't distractions in big games, although there's the advantage of playing at home, you're also obligated to fulfil your media duties, to look after your fans, people want to stop you in the street and wish you well,'' Mowen said.

''It's always at the forefront of your mind, whereas when you go on tour you can go into the shell of the team, and if guys don't want to talk about the game, they won't.

''Playing at Mt Smart, they won't be bothered by anyone, apart from the captain and coach doing media they'll be left alone and the whole pressure [valve] will just release.

''At this time of the year it's probably not a bad result and they can take the siege mentality over there for three days, get the job done and come home.''

The Warriors have lost their past seven games that include some serious hidings, particularly over the last month.

Complacency has hurt the Raiders at times after big wins against top opposition, something they've undoubtedly discussed after last week's 34-6 victory over Canterbury.

''The Raiders have been in this position a lot more than a young Brumbies side have,'' Mowen said.

''On reflection we were underprepared in our attitude, but from what I've seen of the Raiders they look like they're firing along nicely.''

Mowen said he sensed on match eve that something was amiss.

''I certainly felt at the captains run we were a little bit off, which is unusual for us,'' he said. ''There wasn't anything wrong with the execution because they're easy signs to look for, it was more the intensity was just a touch down and the talk out a bit.

''I didn't [say anything] because it's a fine balance between getting the guys in the right zone, but you don't want to spook them in case they were a bit quiet because they understood what was on the line.

''It still hurts a lot, I won't ever get over that I don't think and I hope we don't. If we get a chance to move into a finals series or contest for a championship in coming years, it's a game we can look back on and remember what happens when our attitude's off, and the feeling that goes with it.''