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Fogarty adamant Raiders have the game to unsettle Storm

Raiders halfback Jamal Fogarty is adamant the Green Machine has hit top gear at the right time and can repeat their 2019 finals heroics when they stunned the Storm at AAMI Park.

After finishing the regular season in fourth spot, the Raiders ventured to Melbourne and got home in a thriller thanks to a John Bateman try to earn themselves a week off.

In 2022 they find themselves in a sudden-death semi-final after finishing eighth, but having charged home from 11th in Round 17 to be part of the play-offs, the Raiders have momentum and confidence on their side.

The roll started with a 20-16 victory over Melbourne in Round 18 at AAMI Park before Canberra went on to win five of their last six to return to the finals for the first time since that 2019 campaign.

“We had a fair few young blokes in that Storm game and it gave them a bit of confidence, to go down there and play the way we did,” Fogarty said after Sunday’s win over Wests Tigers.

“Our style of football is a bit unique and different to other teams. The Storm are very defence-orientated and so good at it, but I think our second-phase play and offloads disrupts that a little bit.”

Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Raiders

Having missed the first 11 rounds due to a knee injury, Fogarty has made the most of every moment since then, racking up 10 try assists and 13 forced dropouts as his partnership with halves partner Jack Wighton has flourished.

“Our team was chopping and changing so much early in season but we’ve got a bit of flow about us now,” Fogarty said.

“Me and Jacky and Tommy [Starling] and Zac [Woolford] and our big boys up front have got a bit of flow about us now and we understand the way we want to play and that’s the main thing.

“When I first came back we weren’t passing the ball a whole lot so we’ve had a focus of playing a bit more football and playing the style of footy the Raiders have always been known for.”

As the Raiders’ combinations have gelled and confidence has soared, the points have flowed, with 18 tries scored across the past two weeks against Manly and Wests Tigers.

So lethal was their attack at Leichhardt on Sunday that the game was over after half an hour, prompting coach Ricky Stuart to give Fogarty and others a rest in the second half.

He may not have liked it at the time but the No.7 sees the wisdom in Stuart’s ways.

Match Highlights: Storm v Raiders

“Since I’ve been back I haven’t missed a game, so I wanted to keep playing, but Ricky wanted to make sure nothing went pear shaped in that second half,” he said.

“He had a plan for a couple of boys to get a rest before next week but we got what we needed out of the first half.

“We spoke about our start, we wanted to go through the middle, run hard and have blokes in shape and if we could get an offload we’d play off the back of it.

“The last month has given us more confidence, we are playing a nice style.

“Everyone knows their roles and we’re all enjoying our footy… it’s not how you start the season but how you finish it.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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