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Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Raiders worth a punt at 100-1 Odds

Rookie Canberra coach Neil Henry understands the bookies making his side the outsiders for this year's NRL title, but says the 100-1 being offered is way over the top.

With the green machine losing over 1000-games of experience following the departure of skipper Clinton Schifcofske, Jason Croker, Simon Woolford, Jason Smith, Adam Mogg and Michael Hodgson, bookmakers moved quickly to install the Raiders as rank outsiders for the premiership.

Centrebet is offering odds of 100-1 on the Raiders lifting the trophy on grand final day with South Sydney on the next line of betting at 40-1.

TABSportsbet is only offering odds of 66-1 on the Raiders winning the title with the Rabbitohs and Penrith at 25-1.

All this comes despite the fact the Raiders have made the finals series in four of the last five seasons, while the best the Rabbitohs have managed in that same time span is third last.

"The bookies go through the playing roster and have a look at what clubs have recruited," Henry said of the massive disparity in the odds.

"Souths have recruited very well - some quality players - and the (Gold Coast) Titans have done the same.

"I don't think it's a fair call that we're that far behind the other teams though.

"It's like the form guide - if you haven't got a lot of history on some players you tend to think `well they're not up to the standard of these other players.

"I'm confident that we can win our fair share of games and we're building towards that. People are entitled to their opinion but I think we're a better side than those odds."

The Raiders won their opening trial on Saturday night with a severely understrength side beating a North Queensland Young Guns outfit 28-10 in Rockhampton.

Several of the club's new faces were given a run against the Queensland Cup side with Henry vowing to send out a more recognised line-up against Brisbane this weekend.

The Broncos will field a second string side with their main squad in England for this weekend's World Club Challenge clash against St Helens.

Henry said it was vital his group hit the ground running when the competition proper kicked off with an away game against Manly on March 17.

"We're a club that's going to need to be at our best each week to win games," Henry said.

"We need to be playing at our ability level and get that consistency that's sometimes difficult to get in particular with young players.

"They tend to be okay for a couple of games and then drop off a bit and that's what we're going to have to cope with."

The Raiders only trial against a full strength opposition will come against Wests Tigers at Davies Park in Brisbane on March 3

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