Rugby League


Halves urged to kick-start stuttering season

Canberra coach David Furner has declared his young halves must improve their ability to build pressure with their kicking if the Raiders are to resurrect their season.

Josh McCrone and Sam Williams were given a masterclass on tactical kicking by Cronulla playmakers Todd Carney and Jeff Robson in a 44-22 loss to the Sharks on Sunday.

Cronulla sucked the life out of Canberra by forcing seven dropouts, ensuring the Raiders played under fatigue after making 127 extra tackles. In their 30-6 loss to Brisbane the week before the Raiders churned through a massive 391 tackles - 100 more than the Broncos.

Sunday was McCrone and Williams' first game together after five-eighth Terry Campese's season-ending knee injury in Brisbane.

''The two teams we've played recently, Brisbane and Cronulla, we haven't competed with them in that department,'' Furner said.

''They looked to grind us away and take the ball from us, and we have to play that type of football to be competitive.


''Their kicking game was just far superior than ours, and their attitude toward their chase was better than ours.

''The good teams are able to get repeat sets and put pressure on you, that's why they're on top and we need to fix it fast.''

In McCrone and Williams' defence, they played behind a well beaten forward pack and faced a defensive line fresh from its light workload.

Canberra captain David Shillington said the forwards should take the bulk of the blame for allowing Carney time and space to dictate the game.

''With their forward pack going so well it gave Carney room to move, our forwards weren't doing that very well and it makes it hard for the halves to play any footy,'' Shillington said.

''I was pretty confident going into that game and I know a lot of people had written us off [without Campese] going into it, but I've still got plenty of confidence in the team and I know the boys and the coaching staff feel the same.''