Warriors v Raiders preview - 2017 Round 23
Raiders try to keep finals hopes alive against wounded Warriors
Canberra goes into the contest Sunday against the New Zealand Warriors knowing nothing less than a win will do. They currently sit four points outside the top 8, however a Penrith loss and a Canberra win would get it within striking distance in the coming weeks. The Raiders were on fire last week against the Sharks and will be hoping for more of the same in both defence and attack this week as they travel over the ditch. After a two try performance last week, look for Jordan Rapana to be heavily involved in a lot of attack on Sunday.
The Warriors have been in freefall for a couple of months now and can't wait for the season to end. The loss of Shaun Johnson has left them rudderless in attack, and despite completing a good percentage of sets, they don't look like troubling opposing sides. This is huge test for them and their defence, if the Kiwis don't get it right early they could concede a cricket score.
This one could basically go one of two ways - it could be an ugly, dire affair, or a high-scoring, entertaining game of footy.
Who to watch: Warriors captain Simon Mannering has been super consistent this year and will be tasked with trying to stop the big Raiders forward pack on Sunday. His defensive workload will be tested as the likes of Junior Paulo, Josh Papalii and Elliot Whitehead travel his way. If he can stem the flow and drive back this forward pack, he might give his side the springboard to have some success.
The Raiders winger Jordan Rapana hit back to form last week with a two try effort which dented the Sharks top 4 aspirations. He was good in the air and continued to show why he is one of the best wingers in the game with strong carries from his own line as well as breaking tackles. He will be a handful for the Warriors defence and they will need to keep a close eye on the Raiders right hand attack that is finding some form at the right time of the season.
My tip: Canberra to keep their finals hopes alive with a determined performance away from home. Raiders by 10.
1. Roger Tuivasa-sheck 2. David Fusitua 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 21. Mafoa'aeata Hingano 7. Mason Lino 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Nathaniel Roache 15. Sam Lisone 11. Bunty Afoa 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering 14. Issac Luke 10. Ben Matulino 16. Isaiah Papalii 20. Chris Satae
1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Joseph Tapine 13. Elliot Whitehead 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Clay Priest 16. Dave Taylor 17. Luke Bateman