raiders put to test

o Rugby League

By BOB ANTHONY

THE character of the Tweed Coast Raiders will be put to the test this evening when they host Mullumbimby in their Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League clash at Les Burger Field, Bogangar.

Coming off a confidence boosting win against Byron Bay, the Raiders are up against one of the fancied sides in the competition, and will be looking to give a solid performance in front of their home crowd.

Coach Terry Rapana is under no illusions as to the assignment confronting his players, but is looking forward to taking on the Giants early in the season.

With the Raiders improving every game, Rapana will be looking to build on the momentum within his side which began with its second-half performance against Murwillumbah in round two.

In that game, the Raiders failed to let a big half-time deficit deter them and managed to outpoint the Mustangs in the second half.

Since then, the Raiders have shown plenty of promise in their combinations, but will need to dig deep to hold off a physical Mullum side.

"Each week, I'm seeing the side getting better and better and as we go further into the season, there's increasing interest in how the Tweed Coast is going, especially from former juniors," Rapana said.

Centre Arwin Marcus is one such former junior who has returned to join the Raiders senior side, playing in the centres and adding to the Raiders' attack.

Ball control and off-field discipline have been the focus of the Tweed Coast this week at training.

For Rapana, the fact that they are playing at home should mean plenty of local support and a good showing.

"Last week, despite the storm, we had a big crowd who stayed on until the end of the game and this week should be another huge crowd ? everyone has been asking what time we are playing," he said.

"We must exploit the home ground advantage and make it tough for anyone coming here to gain the points."

Rapana has the added bonus of being able to run the same side for the second week running, helping develop some good continuity between his players.

This evening's clash against Mullumbimby kicks off with reserve grade at 4pm with the A-grade to follow.

TWEED COAST RAIDERS: 1. Dave Herron, 2. Steve Berry, 3. Isaac Jacky, 4. Arwin Marcus, 5. Norm Berryman, 6. Nathan Gill, 7. Nathan Jordan (c), 8.Adam Aiken, 9. Kane Stannard, 10. Robert Kelly, 11. Michael Sharp, 12. Michael Kelly, 13. Heath Jacky, 14.Terry Rapana.



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