The Raiders get a nice boost ahead of their clash with Newcastle this weekend, with former Bronco and Queensland rep Neville Costigan proving his fitness for the match along with flyer William Zillman.
Costigan and fullback Zillman both had last minute fitness tests as Canberra pushed to get the stars back into their line-up. The Raiders feed off the aggression and physical presence of Costigan and will also enjoy the pace and attacking prowess of the up and coming Zillman from the back.For Zillman it’s his first hit out since damaging his anterior cruciate ligament in round 21 of the 2007 NRL season, in other news flanker Adrian Purtell will also return after suffering from a DVT scare last season.
Coach Neil Henry confirmed Costigan trained well in the leadup, managing his comeback well and will take the field tomorrow night at Energy Australia Stadium.
Former Rooster Nigel Plum and Joe Picker still remain as shadow players for Costigan who has not played a single NRL Pre-Season Trial game this year.
Zillman achieved much in his impressive season last year, bursting onto the scene for the Canberra Raiders and ending the NRL year as the clubs top try scorer. The speedy custodian wants to get into the action early to get his confidence back and start 2008 where he started last year – full of action.
“While i’ve been on the sidelines for a little while – in reality it’s only 4 NRL games I missed” Zillman said.
“Playing in the trial game during this years NRL pre-season the other week gave me a touch of confidence and I am looking to build on that this weekend”
There is no doubt Knights no.7 Jarrod Mullen will send plenty of bombs in the direction of the Canberra fullback, but Zillman and flankers Colin Best and Purtell have prepared for it and will be ready to face the heat.
“Kicking remains a huge weapon to NRL teams these days, lots of points are scored from kicks.”
“I am sure we’ll be tested, and we’re confident we’re up to it” confirmed Zillman
Canberra remain underrated as they do every NRL season, but facing the new look Knights might be an ideal chance to get the season off to a good start with an early win. While the game is played in Newcastle, the Raiders seem confident about their chances of pipping the new Brian Smith coached side.