Blast from the past yet in the present at the same time

Any Raiders fans and NRL fans for that matter will remember the monster pack the Raiders had 20 years ago with the legendary Bradley Clyde, Glenn Lazarus and Sam Backo busting their butts every week, to give the Raiders a dominant edge in the forwards.

Now, the Raiders are looking to do the same in 2011, with their new monster pack featuring new recruit Brett White, as well as current Raiders players, David Shillington, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Dane Tilse.

It is a front-line that the Raiders are tipping will be even more destructive then the forward pack of the 90’s, a forward pack that destroyed others with ease.

“This year there will certainly be no excuses why we can’t become one of the most dominant packs in the comp,” Tom Learoyd-Lahrs said.

With Dane Tilse being the only prop in the team to have not played Origin, his fellow forwards are confident that this can change, and that we’ll see Dane Tilse as a bolter to push for a spot in the NSW side.

“I reckon Tilsey will be a dark horse for the NSW team if he can have a big year,” Shillington said.

“Hopefully we’ll have three forwards there with Tommy and I to hopefully continue our duties for NSW and Queensland.

“And Whitey had a tough year with the Storm last year, but he’s definitely capable of getting back in there.

“[Tilsey] is one of those people who is the perfect definition of what hard work and training can do for you.

“He’s quite tall and had to work hard to keep up with everything. But he’s worked his butt off and worked hard on his diet.

“He came out against Melbourne last Saturday in our trial in Bega and whacked a few blokes and was running hard.”Learoyd-Lahrs agreed that Tilse would be hard to ignore at Origin time, when NSW will try to stop a sixth straight Queensland series win.

“I watched Tilsey play in Bega and thought he was our best forward,” Learoyd-Lahrs said. “I’ve always had a big wrap on him as a player and bloke. He’s great to have around the club and hopefully everything falls into place for him this year.”

For Tilse however, at least for the time being, he wants to focus on getting a jersey for Country firstly, and then look forward to the opportunity that may present itself to play for NSW.

“I’m keen to get a Country jersey and if I can get that I’ll think about that [Origin] then,” Tilse said.

“I know I’d like to play at that level, and hearing those things gives you confidence.

“I’ll put my best foot forward and see what happens.”

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