Raiders' NRL defence to be tested by Manly
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has warned Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic can hurt the Raiders in Friday night's NRL clash at GIO Stadium.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart is bracing for Manly's arsenal of attacking weapons ahead of Friday night's NRL showdown.
Despite losing to Melbourne at home last week, the Sea Eagles showed they could penetrate one of the competition's most impressive defensive units by putting 26 points on the Storm.
Stuart is expecting an improved performance from Trent Barrett's men at GIO Stadium, a venue where Manly have won five of their last six matches.
"They're a very good attacking team Manly and I know that Trent will be jumping right on top of some of their deficiencies that they've found in defence over the last week," Stuart said.
Fullback Tom Trbojevic, his brother Jake and Sea Eagles skipper Daly Cherry-Evans are among the Raiders' chief concerns.
"They're going to really provide some questions for us to answer defensively because they have a good instinctive footy team in attack and they've shown they can score points," Stuart said.
"You look at the two Trbojevics, you look at Cherry-Evans and their pack, they have a lot of offloads in their game which creates a lot of power go-forward."
While they fell short by four points against the Storm, Manly have claimed the scalps of North Queensland, Sydney Roosters and Canterbury this season.
They are perched on the edge of the top eight, and a win over Canberra will go a long way to proving their big-game credentials.
"I think they're a better football team than where they are sitting on the table at the moment," Stuart said.
"They're good out of dummy-half.
"The two Trbojevics are very, very talented football players and they've got two very experienced halves.
Tom Trbojevic leads the competition in run metres, with Stuart acutely aware of how damaging he can be.
"Trbojevic at the back creates a headache defensively," Stuart said.
"He sits on the inside of the footy, he plays on the edge - he's a wonderful talent."
The Raiders attacking prowess has been well-documented but an improved defensive effort has been organic rather than concerted.
"I think we're getting better defensively through some of the commitment the boys are putting in," Stuart said.
"They're working for each other very hard off the footy."
STATS THAT MATTER
* For the first time in 42 games, the Raiders scored 20 or less against the Warriors last week and won. Their last victory when posting 20 or less was in round 19, 2013 (14-0 v Parramatta).
* The Raiders' right hand side attack is by far the strongest in the competition scoring 19 tries down the right edge and right touch line channels.
* Since a season-best five try assists against the Bulldogs in Round 4, Daly Cherry-Evans has just one try assist in his past three NRL matches.
Source: Fox Sports Stats
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