Former Farrer player front and centre at Raiders

GREEN seems a pretty good fit for Matt Allwood.

Former Farrer star Matt Allwood (legs) and another Raiders team-mate combine to halt the progress of Newcastle’s Joel Edwards during Saturday night’s trial. Photo: Barry Smith 220214BSH33

The former Farrer (green and gold V) star is on the cusp of making his NRL debut with the “green machine” after impressing at left centre in the Raiders’ 34-14 trial loss to Newcastle at Scully Park on Saturday night.

It was effectively an audition for a centre spot against the Cowboys in round one and, if coach Ricky Stuart’s comments after the game are any indication, Allwood mightn’t be long off realising his NRL dream.

Stuart was suitably impressed with what Allwood showed, especially in defence.

Allwood played the first 40, which was all he was going to, with Stuart opting for a different line-up in the second half.

For Allwood, Saturday night was a huge thrill.

“I was really stoked to get back,” he said.

“It was a great feeling playing in front of a home crowd.”

The 21-year-old was a part of two University Shield wins with Farrer – the first in 2008 and then again in 2010 in his final year at school.

He headed down to Canberra after to join fellow Farrer recruits Alan Tongue and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs.

After starring in the centres for the Raiders’ Toyota Cup side, injury halted his progression, with Allwood being sidelined for almost a year with a knee injury he picked up late in 2011 and re-aggravated early in 2012.

He got back on the field last season and was a consistently strong performer in the centres for the Mounties – the Raiders’ NSW Cup side, warranting consideration for the NRL squad.

Against Melbourne earlier this season he got 40 minutes and was pretty happy with his game on Saturday night.

“I was pretty pleased with how I went,” he said.

He had a pretty tough assignment, matching up against Joey Leilua.

The Raiders played their stronger side in the first half and were right in it at half-time, down 12-10.

“Everyone pulled together strongly in the first half,” Allwood said.

The Knights stamped their authority on the game though in the first 20 minutes of the second half, scoring three unanswered tries.

“We were a bit unlucky. The boys were trying really hard,” Allwood said.

That said, the errors were more prevalent in the second half and their defence noticeably slipped off.

Leilua and Kurt Gidley both ran through three or four defenders for their tries.

Stuart had decided to rest five-eighth Terry Campese and left him in Canberra, not wanting to risk injury.

They do, though, look like being without prop David Shillington for the Cowboys’ clash after he suffered rib cartilage damage early in the first half.

He was having scans yesterday but Stuart said it was looking like a two to four-week stint on the sidelines.

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