Bailey Simonsson says the Canberra Raiders have the strike weapons to shatter the NRL's toughest barrier in a battle between two premiership contenders this week.
The Raiders will hit the road to face the Penrith Panthers on Friday night in the hope of handing the competition frontrunners their first loss of the season.
The Panthers have conceded 16 points throughout the competition's opening month at an average of just four per game, twice holding their opposition scoreless.
Penrith halves Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai have orchestrated the Panthers attack which has notched up more points than all bar one rival team as Ivan Cleary's side set their sights on going one better than last year's grand final defeat.
But Raiders winger Simonsson is confident Canberra, a side that pride themselves on their defensive resolve, can shatter Penrith's well-drilled defence and pile on the points themselves.
"We back ourselves, if we turn up and play our best footy, we've got a team to beat anyone," Simonsson said.
"They've obviously got quality right across the whole park there, obviously two really good halves. We're going to have to do a job on everyone, we're going to have to all be on, both edges and middles working together. It's a big challenge and we're looking forward to it.
"They're obviously a top side, they had a really good year last year and they've started the year this year in pretty red-hot form. It's going to be a tough game. We have to be on defensively if we're going to win this game.
"It's about looking after what we can control, doing our preparation, getting our plays right, getting our structures right and executing the game plan the coaches give us, and giving ourselves every opportunity to go out there and get the win."
Simonsson is settling into the groove of top flight football again after a shoulder injury ended his 2020 campaign after nine rounds, before a minor leg injury forced him out of this year's NRL All Stars game.
The 23-year-old has struck up a fresh combination with Raiders centre Seb Kris on the right edge with Curtis Scott sidelined with a rib injury.
"I felt a bit like I was just trying to find my feet in those first few games," Simonsson said.
"After such a long layoff, you're still getting used to the speed and that match fitness. I'm feeling better each game which is a positive. I'm just loving being back out there.
"Seb has come straight in there [at centre]. I thought he was probably our best back across those first few games. We don't lose much."
NRL ROUND FIVE
Friday: Penrith Panthers v Canberra Raiders at Panthers Stadium, 7.55pm.
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