Canberra’s forward pack has been put on notice, with two of the club’s most experienced NRL players urging them to step up their game against a high-flying Cronulla on Sunday.
Hard-hitters Shaun Fensom and Frank-Paul Nu’uausala expressed their disappointment in the Raiders’ defence and attack in their heavy loss to Parramatta.
Neither wanted to blame the short five-day turnaround from their win over Canterbury at Belmore, but rather on handling errors, poor discipline and soft running.
“We’re looking to redeem ourselves this weekend,” said Fensom.
“We dropped the ball on tackle one or two, silly penalties as well.
“We’ll cut all that out and get back to the basics of running hard and tackling hard.
“Cronulla are on a bit of a roll and they’ve got some big forwards in the middle with (Andrew) Fifita and (Paul) Gallen now back playing for them. We’ve got to shut them down.”
Nu’uausala said with Sia Soliola (arm) and Jeff Lima (hand) both sidelined through injury, and prop Paul Vaughan (ankle) in doubt, the rest of the forward pack needed to pick up the slack.
He admitted he and his teammates failed to aim up against the Eels, making it difficult for returning halves Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer to work their magic.
Turning that form around was a matter of just “showing up” against the Sharks, who have won their last three games in a row against Melbourne, Wests Tigers and Gold Coast.
“That’s all we need to prove,” Nu’uausala said.
“The intent’s there and we know we can play well. You saw that against the Doggies. We just need to show up and deliver our game.”
Fensom suffered a knock to the head against the Eels on Saturday but said he would “be sweet” to play this week.
It’s his second concussion of the season, having copped one in round two.
“I’m not worried. That’s why they’ve got that sideline concussion assessment, to look after player’s welfare,” said Fensom, who still needs to pass a further test later in the week.