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Hunted Raiders search for NRL consistency

NZN 5/04/2017 Matt Coughlan

Canberra front-rower Junior Paulo admits the Raiders' strong 2016 has placed a target on their backs as they search for back-to-back NRL wins for the first time this season.

Opposition teams have put the blowtorch on Paulo and fellow giant prop Shannon Boyd this year and the hulking pair will face another test against Gold Coast at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday.

"Coming off the back of last year's season, everyone knows how we play," Paulo said.

"We've gone from being hunters to being the hunted."

Canberra's victory over Parramatta improved their record to 2-3 last week, while Gold Coast slumped to a second successive defeat with the Warriors proving too strong in New Zealand.

Coming off a crunch win of their own, Paulo knows desperation will have spread through the Titans' camp this week.

"They're going to be coming out and trying everything and anything to try and get a win," he said.

Paulo averaged of 48 minutes for the Raiders last season, a figure which has risen to 56 this year, while Boyd has averaged 40 minutes a game this season up from 35 in 2016.

"There's always going to be that challenge of us trying to maximise our minutes on the field and that's what we're trying to do," Paulo said.

While Paulo and Boyd have a 27kg weight advantage over Titans' bookends Ryan James and Jarrod Wallace, the Gold Coast props are both averaging more than 65 minutes of game time this season.

"The Titans boys have been punching out about 60 minutes in their games so it's going to be a big challenge for me and Boydy," Paulo said.

One advantage Paulo is counting on is the size and strength of the Raiders' back five to balance the forwards' fatigue.

"When the going gets tough there's always going to be those times when you're trying to catch your breath in the game," he said.

"I'm sure anyone in our back five can play in the forwards.

"It's like having a pack of forwards at the back trying to help us out.

"Having the guys like (Jordan) Rapana, (Joey) Leilua, Jacky Wighton, (Nick) Cotric - when you see them returning the ball you know you're going to get the set off to a good start."

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