2016 fin­ish: Run­ners- up

Rugby League Week - - Nsw Cup -

The coach says: Dom­i­nated the sea­son proper only to en­dure a heart­break­ing 21-20 loss to the Cut­ters in last year’s grand fi­nal but rather than cry over spilt Raiders Lime milk, Steve An­tonelli is up­beat. “I brought a lot of blokes up from our Ron Massey Cup side to see if they could han­dle the step up, and they did,” he re­calls. “We were more con­sis­tent, too, so there was a lot to like about last year.” Sam Wil­liams was the linch­pin and An­tonelli ad­mits his half­back’s move to Wake­field has left a hole. “He was sort of the main cog in our wheel all year, he re­ally steered the ship for us, so he’s a big loss but like any foot­ball side when you lose some­one im­por­tant like that, you just need to adapt.”

Player to watch: At 28 and with 35 NRL games to his name, Isaac John ( above) is a ready-made leader. “I need Isaac to re­ally step up and take con­trol of the whole group be­cause I think he’s ca­pa­ble of do­ing it,” An­tonelli says. “He’s got all the skills but he’s very good at push­ing the team around the park.”

KEY GAINS: Isaac John

KEY LOSSES: Mitchell Bar­nett, Zac Wool­ford, Sisa Waqa, Sam Wil­liams, Brenko Lee

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