Date: July 12 2012
NEW Canberra winger Sandor Earl is out to make it three wins from three since his move from Penrith, his first two weeks having coincided with the Raiders' first back-to-back victories in more than a year.
In just two matches, Earl has already struck a solid partnership on the right with Blake Ferguson, scoring his first two tries for Canberra in their 40-12 demolition of Melbourne on Saturday.
Now, Earl says the focus is on extending his undefeated record when the Raiders host Gold Coast on Sunday – and then perhaps he and his new teammates can start renewing finals talk.
"We're not quite talking about it yet, even though we've had two good wins," Earl said. "But this is the sort of game that will set the tone for us.
"The Titans in our home and then we've got a few more home games, and those are the ones we need to win. A couple of games down the track and, if we're in the same position, then finals talk might be realistic."
Earl arrived at the nation's capital still believing the Raiders could put in a bumper performance at the tail end of the season, despite ongoing criticism about their form and that of coach David Furner.
They sit in 11th place on seven wins, just two points out of the eight.
Coming from the struggling Panthers, Earl said he noticed a difference in mood at the Raiders straight away.
"They [Canberra teammates] still get shocked when they ask me how training was there, and I'm just like, 'I'm loving it here. I don't know how you guys have lost'.
"You just look at the team and how they play and they've always got wraps on them. They do say to me, though, 'You're lucky you weren't here two weeks ago'."
Canberra are set to field an unchanged line-up against the Titans, but Earl admitted Furner will have a serious problem to deal with once star fullback Josh Dugan recovers from an ankle injury.
The impressive form of Reece Robinson – who covered for Dugan when he was out with a sore shoulder – forced Furner to place Dugan in the halves a month ago - a position Sam Williams has also been dominating.
Furner has long reiterated the importance of consistency within the squad, but faces the dilemma of where to place Dugan when he does come back, potentially for the Cronulla match on July 22.
"Duges is the kind of player you have to have in the team," Earl said. "But I'm just glad it's up to Furnsey to decide."
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