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Raiders' mid-season report card


Jon Tuxworth

League great Terry Lamb has dealt with his fair share of coaching pressure, and says David Furner must stick to his guns at the Raiders.

A 40-0 loss to the Wests Tigers was a low point of the Raiders' season.

A 40-0 loss to the Wests Tigers was a low point of the Raiders' season. Photo: Colleen Petch

Terry Lamb knows first hand how the walls seem to close in on you when at the helm of an under-fire team.

Player ill-discipline, mounting losses and fan frustration – his short tenure as Wests Tigers coach was tumultuous to say the least.

And his advice to Canberra Raiders coach David Furner is to avoid a siege mentality and trust his natural instincts.

The Raiders' defence, in particular that of centre Jarrod Croker, has struggled this season.

The Raiders' defence, in particular that of centre Jarrod Croker, has struggled this season. Photo: Melissa Adams

The Canterbury great endured the drug suspensions of Craig Field and Ken McGuinness and the infamous John Hopoate "finger poking" scandal at Concord.

Wests finished near the bottom of the ladder when he was in charge in 2001 and 2002, and Lamb has some regrets.

He doesn't want Furner to make the same mistakes.

"You start questioning yourself, that's what you do," Lamb said.

"I probably went in and made some rash decisions I shouldn't have, and you can't change them.

"Especially when you've only been there a short time [criticism gets to you], I'm sure Wayne Bennett's used to it and Timmy Sheens and Brian Smith, and don't pay too much attention to it.

"He just has to be true to himself and do the right thing by the club."

The Raiders' frustrating first half of the season has featured five wins from 13 matches, club-imposed player suspensions and rumours the coach is on notice.

"I couldn't get away from the pressure to tell you the truth, it hangs around all the time," Lamb said.

"It's pretty hard – you read papers and listen to the news and people ring you up.

"I was probably too close to some of the players when I was coaching and didn't know the difference between being a coach and being a mate.

"If someone doesn't want to get on your side, you either stand him down or get rid of him.

"He probably needs to ask questions to mates, ring Ricky Stuart and those guys up and ask for advice."

After Canberra's embarrassing 40-0 home loss to Wests Tigers a fortnight ago, Furner took his side on a soul-searching camp at Swansea last week.

It helped unify the club enough to produce a crucial 32-16 win against fellow struggler Newcastle.

"I would never question the players, they were out there trying [against the Tigers], but when you come up with those errors you put pressure on everyone," Furner said.

"We definitely weren't happy with where we were, and rather than beat them down any more it was more about refocusing, because I believe in the talent in the squad.

"It [the camp] was probably about the players and the group in themselves being a bit tighter ... you turn up to headquarters and sometimes don't get to learn about some of the players and vice-versa really.

"That was one of the factors and I looked at a couple of exercise, which instilled the belief in the individual and the belief in the team."

The win over the Knights was a timely boost for a young outfit struggling for confidence.

Furner knows beating a side that hasn't won since round eight doesn't amount to a form reversal.

But it provided a foundation he hopes they can build on to make a charge to the finals similar to the Raiders' fairytale run in 2010.

"I'm happy with the response of the players from last week but I still think we can be stronger, we have to build confidence through our defence," he said.

"If we want to aim for the semi-finals we have to be a better defending side, bottom line.

"The biggest thing for us, regardless of age, is being able to keep the same players on the park week-in, week-out."

Furner insisted the constant speculation over his future wasn't affecting his vision to turn the club's fortunes around.

"Am I worried about it? No, and the other thing is ask the players," Furner said.

"I haven't lost the players. There's still a few things we have to change, but I am that competitive and put pressure on myself.

"The external things I can't control."

Former skipper Simon Woolford, a specialist hooker coach at the Raiders this year, admitted the side's application in defence had been questionable this season.

At times, especially against the Tigers, Canberra has looked disinterested in defence.

The Raiders are currently ranked eighth in attack, but only bottom side Parramatta's defensive record is worse.

But the Swansea camp has helped build the unity and trust in each other the players need to be successful.

"Defensively there are a number of issues there and it's got nothing to do with structures, it's commitment and desire in defence that's been an issue," Woolford said.

"That's been addressed and if they can use the Newcastle game as a platform in setting the bar, I can see significant improvement in their defence.

"They were on our line for quite a period in the second half and we leaked some points, but in weeks gone by we would have leaked a lot more.

"They were a lot more resilient and they have to bottle that and produce it every week."

Woolford said the side had made a pact not to use its mounting injury toll as an excuse over the back half of the year.

"Injuries don't help, but they're not an excuse for not turning up with 17 men and having a dig," Woolford said.

"It's commitment to your teammates and commitment to your own personal pride in the way you play, too.

"That's why the results have been inconsistent in terms of the lopsided results ... that's not a structural or technical thing, that's an intensity and commitment thing from the players.

"We're going to have losses at times, no doubt about it, but it's the way we lost a couple of those games that wasn't really acceptable and there's no one at our club accepting that either."

Woolford said the harrowing month that awaits the Raiders will gauge whether they are prepared as a unit to band together and pull themselves from the mire.

They face North Queensland in Townsville next Saturday before games against St George Illawarra (home) and pacesetter Melbourne (away).

"One week's performance isn't going to cut it, they've got a tough three weeks ahead," Woolford said.

"It's a tough period and it's really going to shape our season.

"We can hang around where we are [on the ladder] and cop that, or we can really make something of it over the next month."



The Raiders have shown that when their completion rate is up to scratch, they have no problem scoring points. Much depends on how Josh Dugan continues to adapt to five-eighth. There was some promising signs against Newcastle, but the Raiders know there are far stiffer tests ahead, starting in Townsville next week. Reece Robinson has been solid at fullback, while the forward pack continues to punch down the field, but needs more second-phase play. Some costly 'brain explosions' have crept into the Raiders' game. They have lacked direction since Terry Campese's season-ending injury, and Josh McCrone, pictured, needs to step up.


The Raiders' inability to control a game with their kicking has been an area of concern. Sam Williams, pictured, has the best short kicking game in the club, but his defensive flaws have seen him demoted to NSW Cup. Dugan has one of the biggest boots in the NRL and can fill the void left by Campese. The short kicking game, in particular the ability to mount pressure through repeat sets, needs significant improvement.


Coach David Furner summed it up best: "If we want to be a finals team we need to be a better defending side, that's the bottom line." Only Parramatta has a worse defensive record than the Raiders so far this season. The Raiders have conceded nearly 25 points per game. The left side has been particularly woeful with opponents regularly sending their mobile back-rowers in that direction. Dugan's elevation to the front line in place of Williams was mainly designed to help fix that weakness. Teams have hurt them with second-phase play at times, and reducing opponents' offloads will be a focus.


Furner, pictured, remains under constant fire from fans, but continues to receive full backing from the club's board and management. Canberra has only beaten one top eight side this year – the Wests Tigers when they were in an early-season slump. However, Furner should be commended for trying different options to revive the Raiders' season, notably Josh Dugan's switch from fullback to five-eighth. His decision to stand down Dugan and Blake Ferguson from the round 12 loss to South Sydney was a gutsy statement that proved he is prepared to put team culture ahead of pleasing his players.


One of the big highlights of Canberra's season has been the continued emergence of promising rookies from its vibrant junior nursery. Before his untimely injury, Jack Wighton justified the massive raps he's commanded for some time with strong performances out wide. Impressive 19-year-old winger Edrick Lee, pictured, scored two tries against Newcastle in just his third NRL game and appears a long-term prospect. Second-rower Jarrad Kennedy was solid in his NRL debut in round eight against Cronulla.

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NRL Season 2015

Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14vs NEW 16 Report Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST 22vs STG 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24vs CBY 25 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18vs MEL 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16vs BRI 26 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW 0vs STG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12vs CRO 20 Report Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 16vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32vs WST 22 Report Stats
PEN 22vs MAN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR 10vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22vs CBR 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST 0vs NQL 8 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW 24vs NEW 20 Stats
STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs MEL 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
WST 20vs GCT 27 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST 34vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 22vs PAR 26 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs WST 20 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs NQL 21 Report Stats
GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG 14vs SYD 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
STG 8vs SOU 24 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
WST 8vs SYD 33 Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL 46vs PAR 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 14vs CRO 18 Stats
NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 46vs NEW 24 Stats
SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
Mon, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 24vs PAR 14 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 16vs CBY 18 Report Stats
MAN 28vs SOU 8 Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 0vs STG 36 Stats
CRO 30vs NQL 18 Stats
PAR 10vs PEN 4 Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
NEW 22vs SYD 38 Report Stats
Mon, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 18vs WST 20 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
NQL 18vs SOU 31 Stats
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 32vs STG 6 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 18vs NEW 24 Stats
PEN 24vs NZW 10 Stats
SYD 28vs PAR 18 Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 24vs MAN 26 Stats
CBY 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
Mon, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 2vs MEL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 19vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 18vs CBY 32 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 40vs WST 18 Report Stats
NZW 16vs NQL 50 Report Stats
SYD 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBR 12 Stats
MAN 16vs PAR 20 Report Stats
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 6vs NEW 20 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs BRI 47 Report Stats
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs SYD 46 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR 28vs CRO 35 Stats
NEW 18vs CBY 20 Stats
MEL 14vs NQL 6 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 50vs NZW 16 Report Stats
GCT 28vs STG 26 Stats
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs PEN 18 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs MEL 15 Report Stats
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 30vs SOU 0 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN 30vs NEW 12 Stats
STG 32vs WST 30 Stats
NQL 42vs GCT 12 Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR 24vs CBR 28 Stats
CRO 12vs MAN 14 Stats
CBY 26vs NZW 22 Stats
View All Fixtures
Telstra Premiership Finals Round 1
Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 18vs MEL 20 Report Stats
Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
CBY 11vs STG 10 Report Stats
BRI 16vs NQL 12 Report Stats
Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
CRO 28vs SOU 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Telstra Premiership Finals Round 2
Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 12 Report Stats
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
NQL 39vs CRO 0 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Telstra Premiership Finals Round 3
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI 31vs SYD 12 Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL 12vs NQL 32 Stats
View All Fixtures
Telstra Premiership Finals Round 4
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI 16vs NQL 17 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Sydney Roosters 24 18 6 0 291 40
Brisbane Broncos 24 17 7 0 195 38
North Queensland Cowboys 24 17 7 0 133 38
Melbourne Storm 24 14 10 0 119 32
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24 14 10 0 42 32
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 14 10 0 -7 32
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 13 11 0 -2 30
St George-Illawarra Dragons 24 12 12 0 27 28
View all

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