Set to run out onto GIO Stadium in front of a capacity crowd, Sharks Coach Shane Flanagan welcomed the task of playing in front of a parochial Raiders supporters group.
The regular season done and dusted – and the excitement of the NRL finals now in full swing – Flanagan said the Sharks are approaching tonight’s encounter with the Canberra side full of confidence, having a foundation of recent success in the Nation’s Capital to build upon.
“We’re there now and it’s exciting … we had our moments against the Storm, we just need to capitalise on some of those opportunities we created this week,” Flanagan said.
“Canberra have done really well the last ten weeks; we just need to do to them what they did to us (in Round 22) … it can be done.
“They were ready to go … they were intense, and we learned a bit from it. We know how their players are playing, we know their strengths … it’s a real challenge for us, but our players are all really confident.”
Though now into the ‘new competition’ that is Finals football, the Sharks will take some comfort having toppled the Raiders in Round 7 in Canberra earlier this season.
On that day the Sharks ran in seven-tries-to-three, and while not expecting the same showing from the Raiders this time around, Flanagan remained coy his men would rise to the challenge of Finals football.
“Canberra are in form at the moment … every coach will be out their hoping that they can ‘turn it on’ now, but it’s a different competition,” Flanagan said.
“We’re just really looking forward to getting down there and playing Semi Finals footy.”
Including the Round 7 win at GIO Stadium, the Sharks have won four of their last five matches in Canberra.
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