While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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Can Parra win without Norman? Canberra look to get season back on track
An intriguing contest awaits us on Saturday evening between the Eels and the raiders out at ANZ Stadium. Both sides have been prime examples of inconsistency and lack of motivation at times during the season.
Parramatta will be doing it tough after scans revealed that Corey Norman will be out of action until round 17 after sustaining a knee injury in last week's blowout loss to the Sydney Roosters. The Eels sit in a decent position despite not being close to its best for a lot of this season. With five wins on the season and equal on points with seventh placed Manly, a few wins on the trot could see the Eels move itself well within the top 8. Bevan French returns at fullback for the home team which boosts its attacking chances, the move sees Clinton Gutherson shift back to five-eighth.
Canberra was down right awful last week against the cellar-dwelling Newcastle Knights in what was a surprise defeat. Ricky Stuart at least didn't throw up any excuses and said that his team was beaten by the better football side. It needs to bounce back as quickly as possible and I don't think we will see too many more performances like that for the rest of the season. Blessed with talent all over the park, Canberra needs to show a better attitude in defence, if it can do that then it will have more success than failure. Could the defeat to the Knights be a catalyst for change in the nation's capital?
The Raiders have already recorded a victory this season over the Eels with a win in Canberra in round five. With Parramatta Stadium out of action, it will be the first clash at ANZ Stadium between these two sides. Canberra have won 12 of 21 matches at ANZ Stadium overall.
Who to watch: For the home side, the return of Bevan French is sure to bolster it. In his five games this years French has scored three tries. With his blinding pace and ability to spot holes from a mile off, French is a player that Canberra will need to keep a very close eye on. French bagged a try against the Raiders back in round five and has 22 tries in just 18 first grade matches.
The Raiders, will be focusing on defence this week after last week's defence where it conceded 34 points.
Through the middle of the field has been where the Green machine has been the most solid.
Big numbers will need to put up by Junior Paulo who will be marshaling that middle portion of the field. Paulo hasn't hit his straps as of yet but with Canberra's season fading he will be counted upon to lift it from the doldrums.
My tip: With no Corey Norman, it's hard to go past the Raiders in this match. I don't think the Eels will have enough points in them and that will cost it against a power house side like the Raiders. Raiders by 12.
1. Bevan French 2. Semi Radradra 3. Michael Jennings 4. Kirisome Auva'a 5. Josh Hoffman 6. Clint Gutherson 21. Mitchell Moses 8. Suaia Matagi 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma'u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown 15. Daniel Alvaro 16. Kenny Edwards 17. Siosaia Vave 18. David Gower
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. Elliot Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine 14. Adam Clydsdale 16. Clay Priest 17. Iosia Soliola 18. Dunamis Lui