Rugby League


Terry Campese's Gold Coast display a season best: Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart

He took 60 metres to catch David Taylor in one of the NRL's most unlikely foot races, but Terry Campese is winning the race to find his best form. 

That's the opinion of Canberra coach Ricky Stuart, who rated the Raiders skipper's display in Sunday's 36-20 win over Gold Coast his best of the season.

Stuart said after the game the side ''circled the wagon'' to steel itself and keep morale high in the wake of constant criticism after winning just five games this year. 

Five-eighth Campese has been at the forefront of that but his desire to catch Titans back-rower Taylor, then a second effort to reel in winger Kalifa Faifai Loa, was the display of commitment his side needed. 

Campese joked that avoiding a ribbing from his teammates was the main motivation to catch 123kg Taylor, one of the more mobile big men in the game. 

"I just knew if I never got him what video would be like during the week,'' Campese said. 


"In all honesty I've just been working on my own game and getting it back to where it should be, and trying to keep positive around the place.''

The Raiders are tipped to announce player signings in coming days but Campese said that wasn't the primary motivation to finish the season strongly.  

"It happens in football, you hear all these clubs chasing players and you just have to deal with it,'' he said. 

"It's been happening since I've come to the club with new staff and new players and coaches.

"I don't know what the plan is for next year, but we can't look past next week.''

The Raiders begin a tough month in Melbourne on Saturday, and will head south with little fear after beating the Storm in the teams' past three clashes at AAMI Park.

Canberra played more expansively against Gold Coast and reaped the rewards, but Campese expects a more grinding affair against Melbourne. 

Storm was edged 6-4 by Canterbury on Saturday night and are fighting for their finals lives in eighth spot. 

"Every time we pay Melbourne it's one of the toughest games of the year and it's no different this week,'' Campese said. 

Stuart said Campese was influential in helping his side beat the Titans and lift itself off the bottom of the table. 

"I thought that was probably Terry's best game,'' Stuart said. 

"We need everyone at their best because it showed when everyone does their job, results aren't far away.''