BABY STEPS | Raiders eye top-5 before talk of finals action

WODONGA Raiders coach Daryn Cresswell has dismissed talk of a top-three finish ahead of tomorrow’s blockbuster Ovens and Murray clash against North Albury at Birallee Park.

Although the teams are poised to battle it out for third position with Yarrawonga dropping off the pace, Cresswell said yesterday his players wouldn’t be falling for the trap of getting ahead of themselves.

“We have to tick off the top five first,” he said.

“We haven’t won enough games to guarantee playing finals yet.

“Top three is pie in the sky stuff at this stage.

“We haven’t even spoken about that.”

Cresswell’s stockpile of talent grew even deeper this week with Northern Territory’s Dion Mankura and Frankston Bombers’ defender Duncan Proud signing before the clearance deadline.

Proud is set to debut against North Albury tomorrow while Mankura will play against Wodonga after next weekend’s general bye.

“Dion is good mates with ‘Rocco’ (Tungatalum) and we’re really happy to get him on board,” he said.
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“He’s very quick.

“I don’t know a lot about Duncan as he sort of fell into our lap, but he’ll probably play in defence.”

Cresswell said North Albury deserved to be sitting in third position on the ladder after winning its past six matches against Wangaratta Rovers, Yarrawonga, Myrtleford, Corowa-Rutherglen, Wodonga and Wangaratta.

The Raiders haven’t been beaten since they went down to Wangaratta Rovers in round 7.

“They are tough and hard and their backline is good,” he said.

“They run hard and we will have to be on our game.

“We have a fairly good understanding of how they play.”

Proud’s inclusion comes as the expense of the injured Ethan Boxall, while Jake Goldsmith was named to return ahead of Connor Newnham, but remains in doubt.

Jayden Beaumont replaces Matthew Doody for North.


Article courtesy of the Border Mail

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