Canberra Raiders flick switch for patient attack

Patience is a virtue. But it's also a switch the Canberra Raiders have flicked on this season and it's paying off.

Part of that has been the halves, with Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson declaring new five-eighth Jack Wighton has made the No.6 jersey his own.

Raiders lock Ryan Sutton says they flick a switch to ensure they remain patient. Photo: NRL Imagery/Keegan Carroll

Raiders lock Ryan Sutton says they flick a switch to ensure they remain patient. Photo: NRL Imagery/Keegan Carroll

Following the Raiders' emphatic 19-0 victory, Parramatta coach Brad Arthur noted it was a more patient Green Machine than he's seen in the past.

It helped them capitalise on a mountain of possession, while also shutting out the Eels.

That's resulted in their best start defensively since 1990, three wins in a row and third on the NRL ladder.

If they beat the Broncos and go to a 5-1 win-loss record, then it will be their best start since 2003.

The Raiders are synonymous with attacking football, but their defence has been their Achilles heel.

Clearly that's changing following a pre-season focus to fix it once and for all.

They've also been able to curb their attacking instincts somewhat - refusing to push an offload or pass that's not there.

If they do make a mistake, they simply roll up their sleeves.

"This year we've just had a real mental switch where we're concentrating on our 'D' and making sure we're physical from the start and it's showing," Raiders lock Ryan Sutton said.

"The best teams complete high and get results.

"The first 20 minutes is all about keeping hold of the ball and getting to the end of the sets and kicking and backing our defence.

"We've been doing that really well.

"We have had a few unforced errors, myself being one of the people that's been doing them, but it's the transition on the back of it.

"If we make an error all the team's been getting around each other and we know what our next job is."

Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson says Jack Wighton has made the No.6 jersey his own. Photo: AAP Image/Rohan Thomson

Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson says Jack Wighton has made the No.6 jersey his own. Photo: AAP Image/Rohan Thomson

Not only was that down to their defence, but their halves as well.

Sam Williams has been excellent since taking over the reins in Aidan Sezer's injury absence, while Wighton has settled into his new playmaking role.

Hodgson said they might have been sloppy at times, but it hasn't been due to trying to force it.

They haven't allowed themselves to become frustrated if they don't score - like when they were camped on the Eels' tryline for the opening 20 minutes of the game last week.

"We've been a bit sloppy at times in previous weeks but I don't think we have been forcing our hand," Hodgson said.

"We have just had a few individual errors. Our attack has been pretty patient.

"Ultimately that's what won the game. For us, we're always going to be looking to improve in attack, but there is no real cause for concern.

"Sammy has been doing a really good job since he came in for Aidan, and Jacko has really made that six shirt his own, he has really found his calling there."

They know that they've got the strike out wide to finish things off if they simply hold onto the ball.

In Jordan Rapana, Nick Cotric, Jarrod Croker and Joey Leilua they have four lethal finishers on their right and left edges.

"There's great players in our team and if we just hold the ball and give them the opportunity [then they'll finish it] for us," Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad said.

NRL ROUND SIX

Sunday: Canberra Raiders v Brisbane Broncos at Canberra Stadium, 5pm. Tickets from Ticketek.

Raiders squad: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Sam Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson (c), 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Ryan Sutton. Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Hudson Young, 16. Sia Soliola, 17. JJ Collins. Reserves: 18. Aidan Sezer, 19. Corey Horsburgh, 20. Jack Murchie, 21. Bailey Simonsson.

Broncos squad: 1. Darius Boyd (c), 2. Corey Oates, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Jack Bird, 5. Jamayne Isaako, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Kodi Nikorima, 8. Payne Haas, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Joe Ofahengaue, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. David Fifita. Interchange: 14. Gehamat Shibasaki, 15. Jaydn Su'A, 16. Thomas Flegler, 17. Patrick Carrigan. Reserves: 18. Shaun Fensom, 19. Patrick Mago, 20. James Roberts, 21. Richard Kennar.