Round 16: Canberra v Gold Coast preview
It has been a season of disappointments for the Raiders in 2021 so far as they come into this weekend's contest sitting in tenth position with just five wins from 14 games. A traditionally strong team, the Raiders have been poor especially at home this season with just two victories at their traditional strong-hold.
Prior to the weekend off, the Canberra Raiders yet again capitulated in their 22-20 defeat against the St George Illawarra Dragons after holding a 20-6 lead early in the second half. The Green Machine looked good early as they took a 12-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes. The Raiders held onto a 20-6 early on but they struggled in the second half yet again as the Dragons came home with a wet sail on a windy night to hand the Raiders another defeat.
The Raiders will be boosted by the return of Jarrod Croker into the side at centre with Matthew Timoko dropping to the extended bench. The Raiders have also named Ryan Sutton at lock and Sia Soliola onto the interchange bench.
After promising a better season, the Gold Coast Titans have yet again been disappointments as they come into the contest sitting in 13th place on the NRL ladder with just five wins from their 15 games this season.
If memory wipers were a real thing, Gold Coast Titans fans would have used them to wipe their memories of their second half capitulation where they conceded 48 points against the Manly Sea Eagles to fall to an embarrassing 56-24 defeat after leading 24-8 at the break. The Titans looked excellent in the first half dominating the ball and field position but their second half was utter embarrassment as the defence just looked as if it was a league below the Sea Eagles as they just conceded try after try.
The Titans squad is strongly boosted by the returns of AJ Brimson at fullback and Corey Thompson on the wing. Kevin Proctor returns from suspsension whilst Beau Fermor and Sam Lisone return from injury to the interchange bench. Jayden Campbell, Mitch Rein and Sam Stone are all dropped to the reserves.
Who to watch: Reigning Dally M player of the year Jack Wighton has been disappointing throughout 2021 and his lack of form has been a big part of Canberra's woes so far this season. Wighton is going to need to find some form if the Green machine want to make a back-end charge for the finals this season.
Returning from injury, AJ Brimson is a key part of the Titans side and no doubt a major boost to their side which has been lacking attacking spark and defensive structure of late. Not all the Gold Coast's lay on Brimson's shoulders he will need to play a part if they want to make an outside run to the finals.
The favourite: The Raiders are strong favourites for the contest despite their poor form at home this season.
My tip: This game could be one that go in any direction and not be a surprise, Both sides looked fantastic in their opening 40 minutes a fortnight ago but their second halves were both capitulations. If that is anything to go by then we could see an 40 point first half and nothing in the second half. Being back in Canberra will give the Green Machine the slightest of edges for me. Canberra by 6.