‘Clearly it’s an advantage’: Panthers, Parra draw not lost on Raiders
Competition leaders Penrith have become a protected species when it comes to travel – but it is a whole different story when it comes to their rivals this weekend, Canberra.
By the time the Raiders make their way to the foot of the mountains, most likely via a plane to Bankstown and then a bus, it will be nine games on the road across the opening 13 rounds.
Raiders recruit Corey Harawira-Naera heads back to Penrith on Saturday. Credit:Getty Images
Parramatta, the other western Sydney club flying high near the top of the ladder, have left Sydney three times, with their only remaining ''road trip'' to the Central Coast against the Warriors.
Already dealing with a bulging casualty ward, Canberra know any little favour counts in their quest to reach successive grand finals.
Raiders supporters are already entitled to have a complex about their team, who have traditionally received no prime-time love from the broadcasters, not to mention last year’s refereeing howler in the decider.
"Clearly it's an advantage not to be doing all that travel for teams like Penrith and Parramatta,'' Furner said.
Jack Wighton in action in Townsville on Saturday night.Credit:Getty Images
"There is no other way to look at it. With us, you have to try and look at the positives, and I guess when it comes to bonding and being on the road, Rick [Stuart] has them mentally strong.
"But it is still a massive challenge. Penrith and Parramatta have a blessed draw. Good luck to them. They didn't construct the draw.
"But it's a big difference having nine games away in 13 rounds versus one out of 13. It's not close is it?''
Canberra were forced to play their home games at Campbelltown when the game first relaunched after COVID.
They returned from North Queensland on the weekend, a game they won 18-12, will face the high-flying Panthers, while two more games in Sydney plus a hit-and-run trip to the Gold Coast await them in the run to the finals.
The New Zealand Warriors have been relocated to the Central Coast and skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has not seen his loved ones in months. But they have hit the road less than the Raiders by playing five games in their own temporary backyard in Gosford.
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary watched his young side put on a near-perfect 80-minute performance against the Sea Eagles on Saturday night, and said the most pleasing thing had been his team's consistency.
Raiders new recruit Corey Harawira-Naera started off at Penrith where he was a one-time translator for good mate and fellow New Zealander James Fisher-Harris because of his thick Kiwi accent.
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