Raiders ready for home sweet home again

Canberra will host an NRL game at home on Friday, their first at GIO Stadium since mid-March.
Canberra will host an NRL game at home on Friday, their first at GIO Stadium since mid-March.

Canberra are relishing the chance to return home after six games and more than 5,200 kilometres of travelling.

The Raiders will return to GIO Stadium when they face St George Illawarra on Friday night, after being handed the toughest road schedule in the NRL on the season's resumption.

Since the Raiders last played at home in round one in mid-March, their schedule has included a ridiculous 25 hours in transit.

They began with a two -hour flight to the Gold Coast, before a 70-minute flight to Melbourne on the competition's resumption.

They flew to Bankstown Airport for a home game at Campbelltown in round four, before making road trips to the same stadium in round five and round six.

Last week their trip was even longer, headed past Campbelltown and diverting onto the M7 and M4 for Bankwest Stadium to play Parramatta.

Finally on Friday they will spend a whole day in their own homes before running out onto GIO Stadium - without a six-hour round trip to get to the game.

"Game day tomorrow you get a lot more time to relax," captain Jarrod Croker said.

"Go get a coffee or have a stretch, go for a walk or get some lunch.

"As opposed to getting up, getting ready and jumping on the bus.

"On the way down it's not so much (of an issue), it's the way home.

"Last week we got home about 2.30am and it can be very quiet after a loss."

About 1500 fans will be allowed into GIO Stadium for Friday night's match, as the ACT Government eases back crowds.

But as the lucky few who have been at grounds in the past few weeks have noted, less is almost more when it comes to fans.

Cheering and chants are more clearly audible as does the odd sledge, after a month of matches without crowds.

"Last week they put 500 people on the screen (at Bankwest)," Croker said.

"Just to be booed by 500 people was good again."

Meanwhile, Croker backed out-of-form centre Curits Scott to bounce back after he was dropped to the bench for the Dragons clash.

Arriving as a big-name recruit, the 22-year-old Scott has endured an error-riddled start to his time at Canberra in both attack and defence.

"It's a confidence thing for Curtis. I told him to get back to enjoying his footy and training," Croker said.

"None of us enjoy losing, no one in the competition enjoys losing or being dropped.

"He will be fine ... He is still a young kid with a massive future."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Nick Cotric has scored the first try in the past three games between Canberra and St George Illawarra.

* Canberra average the most errors per game with 13.

* Zac Lomax has scored 54 of the Dragons' 106 points this year, the only player to score more than half his team's points.

:: Stats: Fox Sports

Australian Associated Press