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Warriors braced for fired-up Raiders

The Warriors are wary of a wounded Canberra Raiders eager to make amends for a thrashing as they look to consolidate momentum in their NRL campaign.
Warriors braced for fired-up Raiders
by AAP

By Robert Lowe

AUCKLAND, May 9 AAP - The Warriors are wary of a wounded Canberra Raiders eager to make amends for a thrashing as they look to consolidate momentum in their NRL campaign.

The Auckland-based club host Canberra on Saturday in a clash between two teams sitting near the bottom of the table with six points from eight matches.

The sides are coming off contrasting results from the last round, the Warriors producing a gutsy 16-10 win away to Melbourne, whereas the Raiders were thumped 54-18 by Manly.

Centre Ben Henry, who made his Kiwis debut in last week's Anzac Test in the unfamiliar position of hooker, says the way the Warriors were able to go toe-to-toe with the Storm has lifted confidence within the camp.

But Henry believes every NRL team coming off a drubbing is dangerous and expects nothing less from Canberra.

"They're a team with a young forward pack, but a big forward pack, and they have guys like Anthony Milford and Jarrod Croker out wide who can do the damage," he said.

Croker scored three tries the last time the teams met.

But winger Manu Vatuvei and halfback Shaun Johnson also grabbed hat-tricks at Mt Smart Stadium last August as the Warriors ran out 50-16 winners.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has responded to the Manly defeat by dropping Kangaroos Josh Papalii and David Shillington to the bench.

Paul Vaughan replaces Auckland-born Papalii in the second row, while Dane Tilse gets the nod over Shillington at prop.

The Warriors' starting 13 has one change, centre Konrad Hurrell coming into a reshuffled backline after injury to winger David Fusitua, scorer of a wonder try against the Storm.

Hurrell became the focus of unwanted attention this week over a leaked sex video, but coach Andrew McFadden is confident his players won't be distracted by the incident.

The victory over the Storm featured a big defensive effort, with the Warriors conceding their fewest points in a game this season, and McFadden pointed to attitude as the key. "There's no doubt that you can have all the structure and all the skill in the world, but unless you've got the right mindset every week, you don't get the result," he said.

The match will provide the Warriors with another chance to break their duck at Eden Park, where they have yet to win in five attempts.

They came frustratingly close to ending their drought at the rugby stronghold last month in McFadden's first game in charge after Matthew Elliott's exit.

But Bulldog Trent Hodkinson's late field goal consigned them to a 21-20 defeat.




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