NRL 2020: Canberra Raiders wary of galvanised NZ Warriors

Canberra admit there may not be a worse time to face the NZ Warriors, with the Auckland-based side determined to make their stay in Australia worthwhile.

The Raiders will enter Saturday's match, trying to win their opening two games of the NRL season for just the second time in 15 seasons.

They fly into the Gold Coast on Saturday morning and return home that night under new measures, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But all the attention will be on the Warriors, where it could go both ways for the group.

No team has endured a more difficult week away from their families and with their stay in Australia now indefinite, they face an uncertain future.

That pressure could tell on the park, given they had meetings as late as Friday morning to consider whether they would remain in the 2020 competition.

But the situation could also create a siege-mentality effect, with the squad clearly united in their decision to remain in the country.

"If they are ever going to be up for a game this is it," Raiders captain Jarrod Croker said. "Which is tough for us.

"With everything that has gone on, first week into the camp, they'll have their backs to the wall they are going to come out fired up.

"They've got a big backfield, big outside backs. That first 15-20 minutes, if we aren't on, it will be a tough day for us.

"We need to start well and go from there. It's probably one of the tougher weeks to get the Warriors."

NRL 2020: Canberra Raiders wary of galvanised NZ Warriors
Photo credit: Newshub/Getty

Croker also stressed he remained thankful to the Warriors for their decision to stay in the country to keep the competition at 16 teams.

The Raiders insist the change of plans with the match on the Gold Coast and busy Saturday won't affect them.

They have won both opening round matches just once since the 2006 season, that coming in 2016, when they finished second on the ladder.

"It would be nice [to win the first two]," Croker said. "Everyone wants to start the season well.

"It's something we haven't done in previous years, be consistent through the early stage of the season.

"Obviously, we were quite consistent last year and this year is no different."


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