Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has made just one change to his side to face Penrith this week.
After missing the last two games through suspension, Jordan Rapana replaces Albert Hopoate for the Raiders.
Canberra Second Rower and former Tathra Junior, Adam Elliott, told East Coast Radio he’s looking forward to taking on the top of the table Panthers in Canberra tomorrow (August 6).
“It’s been a game that we’ve been looking forward to for the last few weeks, we’ve been building a bit of momentum,” Elliott said.
Listen to the full chat between former Tathra Sea Eagle now Raider, Adam Elliot and East Coast Radio Journo James Fennessy on this weekend's game, Adam's junior days with Tathra, his move to Newcastle next year and more.
“It was great to go down and test ourselves out against Melbourne and then we backed that up with the couple of other pretty good performances in the following two weeks and now we get a chance to go up against another top four side,” he said.
After three wins in a row, the Raiders are hoping to pounce on a slightly vulnerable Penrith outfit, that are coming off a big (34-10) loss to the Eels, and will be without star playmakers Jarome Luai, who's injured, and Nathan Cleary, after he was suspended for five-matches for a dangerous tackle on Parramatta's Dylan Brown.
Elliott said the Raiders are hoping to make it four wins in a row and push their way into the top 8.
“Although they’re depleted with both their halves missing, they’re still a quality forward pack, and their forward pack is going to be at full strength, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Elliott left the field at the 47 minute mark in Canberra's (24-36) win over the Gold Coast last Saturday and did not return but the 27-year-old said he's right to take his place in the side.
“I copped a bit of a knock to my hip and it coincided with the time I was coming off the field anyway and usually I’d go back on (after a short break) and I was passed fit and right to go back on,” he said.
“But we were going pretty good at that stage, I think Ricky just thought he’d rest me up and give me a bit more of a chance to recover for this week’s game.”
Elliott said he reflects with fondness on his junior days playing with the Tathra Sea Eagles.
“Some of my favourite memories growing up are playing for Tathra, whether that’s Rugby League, AFL or cricket,” Elliott said
“As kids those grand finals are something you’re really proud of and although I’ve gone on to bigger things, in playing in the NRL, I still look back at those moments of growing up and playing with my mates and that’s still the same reason I play the game today.”
Tathra will be running out in their indigenous jerseys (pictured below) as they take on Narooma at the Tathra Country Club Ground on Saturday.
“I think it’s great, I've actually got to Tathra Indigenous Jersey at home,” Elliott said.
“Being Indigenous myself, it's great to see how supportive the game in general is but for my hometown to run out in a jersey and the Scott family that are so involved in Tathra, to have the Indigenous representation is something that I'm really proud of and I love the concept.
“Good luck to all the boys and girls that are playing down there.”
Unfortunately the First Grade team won’t be playing, as Narooma has forfeited however the Ladies League Tag gets underway at the Tathra Country Club Ground on Saturday from 1:30pm, the Tathra Reserves will face Batemans Bay at 12pm and Merimbula-Pambula will face Batemans Bay in the Under 18's at 10:30am.
Tathra will also be using this round to celebrate Women in League.
“It was Women in League Round in the NRL on the weekend and I was very lucky to have so many supportive women in my life when I was growing up back in Tathra,” Elliott said.
“I know how important they were to the junior sport in the area, whether it’s running the canteen, coaching, first-aid, refereeing, and the girls that I’ve played with along the way, just a massive thank you to them and everyone who’s continuing to do it now,”
“If it wasn’t for the great women we have in our game, the game wouldn’t be great.”
Images: Canberra Raiders, NRL.com, Tathra Sea Eagles