Rookie Raiders face a baptism of fire
ADRIAN Purtell, Willie Raston and Ben Jones are so obscure they don't even rate a mention in the NRL's official media guide.
Tonight the three Raiders rookies will make their top grade debuts against Manly at Brookvale Oval - one of the greatest tests there is in rugby league.
They'll be up against the likes of Ben Kennedy, Steve Menzies and Matt Orford, who have played 594 NRL games between them.
But despite the Canberra trio's lack of experience, Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler, for one, is worried about their impact.
``They are young and hungry and will want to impress,'' he said last night.
``It doesn't matter that they are unknowns. ``That won't matter on the night.''
Hasler is also concerned the Raiders have been universally written off.
``I know if that was me I'd be determined to prove people wrong,'' he said.
``They always start the season well and will really come at us.''
The Sea Eagles enjoyed a team lunch at Dee Why yesterday and wrapped up preparations with a light run in the afternoon.
A crowd of around 16,000 is expected at Brookvale Oval for Manly's first game of the 2006 campaign.
* Manly have released centre Ashley Alberts due to ``family and personal circumstances''.
Alberts played eight games for the Sea Eagles in 2005 before injury ended his season.
He will return home to Queensland with his football career in limbo.
``Sometimes these things don't work out and we felt it was in Ashley's best interests to let him go,'' Manly CEO Pat Wilson said.
``He goes with our full blessing.''
Whipped out the article. Wanted to point out something Des said though. In the highlighted part he's revealed his opinion on the Raiders rookies. Surely he must hold that same opinion for every young player so why aren't Ballin an Cuthbertson playing. Surely it would have been best to pit some of our rookies against theirs, especially when chances of winning are likely.