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Warriors target dangerous Raiders centres

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/04/2017

Still hunting their first away win of the season, the Warriors have finally built some momentum with back-to-back home wins over the Eels and Titans. © Jason O'Brien/Getty Images Still hunting their first away win of the season, the Warriors have finally built some momentum with back-to-back home wins over the Eels and Titans. Reining in Canberra centres Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana will be key for the Warriors if they want to secure a rare NRL win over the Raiders on Saturday, experienced back-rower Ryan Hoffman says.

Still hunting their first away win of the season, the Warriors have finally built some momentum with back-to-back home wins over the Eels and Titans.

But with only three wins at GIO Stadium in 14 attempts, they face a tough battle against a Raiders team looking to string three wins together for the first time this season.

Between them, Leilua and Rapana have scored 11 tries this season, including a hat-trick to Rapana in Canberra's 42-16 win over Gold Coast last weekend.

Hoffman says it's going to take a committed defensive effort from the Warriors to keep the duo in line.

"We need to tackle very, very well, because they're very good at breaking tackles," he said.

"They're big, they're fast, they're strong - we just need to be committed in our tackles because if we go in half-pace or half-hearted, that's when they're going to start making long breaks.

"In the end, it just comes down to commitment."

Coach Stephen Kearney says the Warriors will have to be at their very best if they want to limit Rapana and Leilua's effectiveness.

"We have a bit of an idea of how to do that - it's going to take a real physical effort to slow them down," he said.

"They're both playing wonderful footy, and the Canberra side are in really good form.

"It's an exciting challenge for us."

Kearney admits being able to run with an unchanged 21-man squad for the last couple of games has played an important part in a more settled performance.

"It helps - there's no doubt about that, to be able to pick the same side pretty much for a couple of weeks in a row certainly helps," he said.

Kearney has been pleased with the improvement his team have shown in their last couple of wins, but says there's still plenty of room for improvement.

Against Parramatta, he said they lost their way on a couple of occasions, letting the Eels regain momentum with two separate tries.

"We could have been a little bit better last week with the execution, and I don't think our attack flowed quite as well as I would have liked.

"But again, I guess that's asking for perfection. We've got to keep working on that."

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