Ex-Wests Tigers playmaker Blake Austin shapes as the key stumbling block for the joint venture in their NRL match-up against Canberra at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
Austin was released from the final year of his contract late last year by new coach Jason Taylor to join Ricky Stuart’s Raiders and has been Canberra’s form player of 2015 so far.
Austin produced one of the individual performances of the year in the Raiders’ round-five win over Manly in Albury two weeks ago and will be primed for another big effort in what could be one of the last games at Leichhardt Oval, after being usurped in the Tigers halves by rookie Mitchell Moses.
Former Sydney Roosters premiership winner Frank Paul-Nuuausala is another key players the Tigers need to be wary of.
The hard-running back-rower produced one of his all-time best efforts at the iconic venue with an incredible five offloads in the Roosters’ big win over the Tigers in 2012.
Nuuausala is warming nicely into the season for the Raiders.
The former Kiwi representative has an intimate understanding of what the Tigers might throw at the Raiders having played under Taylor in his time as an assistant coach at the Roosters.
“He will have a similar game plan to what we had at the Roosters,” he said.
“For him it was about power and they will come out and try to dominate us and we have to match that.
“It was about completions and putting pressure on the opposition under Robbo (Roosters coach Trent Robinson). We are confident in how we are going. We are happy with the game plan. We just need to play more (expansive) footy.”
WESTS TIGERS V CANBERRA
* The Tigers have a great record against the Raiders, winning 17 of 28 overall
* The Tigers won just two of five matches at Leichhardt last season
* The Raiders have conceded the most linebreaks this season (5.5 per game). However the Tigers are making just 3.3 per game; only Manly (3) is averaging fewer per game.