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It's time to lift as Choc tops the Sea Eagles' talent


David Shillington

Everyone at the Canberra Raiders understands how crucial the next two weeks are to our season.

Our 3-5 record is nowhere near good enough given the high expectations we hold ourselves to.

As a senior player, you try and keep things positive and ensure players are focused on the job at hand.

But we're also realistic of where we are at and how much hard work we need to do to reach our goal of playing finals football.

The intensity and quality of our training sessions has picked up noticeably in the past few days.

There is a definite buzz around the place, something we badly need if we are going to match it with one of the form teams in the competition.

After a slow start to their title defence, the Manly Sea Eagles have hit their straps in recent weeks and are coming off a gritty win against the Bulldogs.

The fact the Sea Eagles were able to block out the pre-match hype about facing former coach Des Hasler for the first time shows the sort of quality the club exudes.

They boast an all star line-up across the park.

Brett Stewart is one of the most exciting players in the NRL, and his individual battle with our own NSW fullback contender Josh Dugan will be worth the price of admission alone.

Then there is Brett's brother Glenn, a dynamic second-rower who works tirelessly on the edges and can offload with the best of them.

But probably their biggest game-breaker is Anthony Watmough, a teammate of mine from the recent Test match win against New Zealand.

Choc had a blinder in the green and gold and is one of the most difficult players to defend.

He can run behind the ruck or charge through a gap and set up his outside men.

He is just as dangerous without the ball, putting on big shots in defence or sitting back and holding his line.

With that said, we will head up to Brookvale Oval believing we can repeat the feats of 2010 and cause a massive upset.

My strongest recollection from that stirring 24-22 victory was the urgency we showed.

Pushing up on plays, diving on loose balls - we played liked our lives depended on it.

We went to Sydney's northern beaches with a 5-10 record, but that result was the catalyst for us to win eight of our last nine and charge into the top eight.

It is unfortunate Michael Chee Kam, one of our outstanding Toyota Cup players, will join the Sea Eagles for the next three years.

I can understand a lot of fans feeling upset about a player of Mick's calibre leaving the club, but unfortunately it is part and parcel of the modern game.

The salary cap means clubs are unable to hang on to everyone they would like to and ensures a fair spread of talent.

Mick is a fantastic prospect and I wish him all the best for the rest of his career.

David Shillington plays prop for the Canberra Raiders

3 comments so far

  • The raiders look like a rudderless ship drifting slowly towards the rocks. Their left hand defence has poured points in for the last two years. All this crap and brooo haa from furner about how angry he is, but the only change has been because buttriss got injured. I for one am sick of the ordinary is ok mentality within the organisation. Things will only change when there is a shake up with the coaching staff and management. A once proud club now the laughing stock of sydney because they refuse to stop nepotism. Allot of people on the southcoast drive the 3 hours each way to watch games but no one including me is prepared to anymore because of the horror trip it has become. No wonder afl is taking over down here.

    Date and time
    May 04, 2012, 8:22AM
    • No disrespect Shillo, but we've heard this over and over again. The boys are training harder, the boys are doing this; the boys are doing that... bla bla bla. I'm a Raiders fan and always will be, but the fans know that a team full of rep players and young stars can do better. Surely the team is better than equal last (2011) and 12th (this year). So it's either you boys stop all the talking off the field and take action on the field or get rid of that god dam coach, because his not doing anyone any favours!

      Mr T06
      Date and time
      May 04, 2012, 1:48PM
      • It says a lot about the media and the players that I'm surprised to read that the Raiders' goal is to play finals football. Every time I read an interview with a borderline star, they're talking about how they want to win a place in a rep team. They might add that they first have to play well for the Raiders. But bottom line: their goal for the past few years seems to have been making a rep side and playing in the finals, winning a GF, seems to be an after-thought. Personal glory over what the fans are hoping for. Media manager Ben Pollock should explain to them that fans are sick of them talking about rep games when they suck so badly at their day job, turning up to compete only every 2nd weekend.

        Fed up
        Date and time
        May 04, 2012, 2:17PM

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