Parramatta coach Brad Arthur is keen to give Canberra an early taste of what’s to come – especially if future Raider Junior Paulo gets the ball near the tryline.
The Eels wrecking ball will get up close and personal with his soon-to-be teammates on Saturday, Arthur hopeful Paulo gets a chance to add to a streak that has seen him bulldoze over for close-range tries the past two weeks.
“Kieran (Foran) has taken a bit of a liking to him out on that edge,” Arthur said of Paulo.
“He’s a different body shape and he’s hard to handle. He carries the ball strong, and he’s very smart.
“He knows where he’s got to be and the holes to run. He’s a bit of a strike (weapon) for us.”
The 22-year-old Paulo has been one of the Eels’ best over the opening five rounds, averaging more metres and coming up with more offloads than any other forward in the squad.
It’s why Raiders coach Ricky Stuart went so hard to get him to the nation’s capital for the next two years.
And while his signing is a savvy move for Stuart, Paulo’s current mentor doesn’t believe the his charge will be changing his successful approach to impress his future club.
“It’ll be the same as every other week,” Arthur said.
“There’s things that he needs to do better which he’s focusing on, like his repeated efforts. That’ll come with game conditioning.
“But Junior’s committed to the Parramatta Eels for the rest of this year.”
The Eels will be out to right the wrongs from their last-gasp loss to Penrith.
But that won’t be easy against a Raiders outfit that is now third on the ladder after bullying through Canterbury’s middle on Monday night.
Hooker Nathan Peats returns from injury for the Eels, while second-year prop Daniel Alvaro has been promoted straight into the run-on side in place of David Gower.
The Raiders were dealt a blow after key backrower Iosia Soliola was ruled out for up to two months with a broken arm, Luke Bateman taking his place in the side.
STATS THAT MATTER
* A win in this match would give Canberra their first three-game winning streak at Pirtek Stadium.
* The Raiders have outscored the Eels 86-12 in the opening 20 minutes of their past 10 games. In contrast, the Eels have outscored the Raiders 92-40 in the final 20 minutes over the same period.
* Currently third, the Raiders have reached their highest spot on the NRL ladder since 2005.