Raiders v Broncos preview

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Canberra Raiders v Brisbane Broncos Saturday 7:35pm at GIO Stadium Canberra

Last-start losers eye important win

The Canberra Raiders will be looking to bounce back at home on Saturday evening when they host a Brisbane Broncos team desperate to avoid an unwanted piece of history.

Blown off the park by the Panthers in the first half before rallying to go down 28-12 last Saturday, the Canberra Raiders will be hoping to overcome a poor record against the Broncos in recent times.

Recording their first win from seven meetings during Ricky Stuart's tenure last season, the Raiders will need to account for their lowly opponents to stay in contention for a coveted top four finish.

Currently sitting in fifth position with a modest for-and-against differential, a loss could see the Raiders finish the round as low as eighth position should results go against them. Despite concerns hooker Siliva Havili could miss the match with an arm injury, the Raiders will take the field with the same 17 that went down to the Panthers last week.

Facing the once unfathomable prospect of claiming the wooden spoon, the Brisbane Broncos will be desperate to break an embarrassing run of form.

Unable to adapt to the conditions during last week's 28-10 loss to South Sydney, a loss on Saturday evening would see the side record one win from their past 12 matches - the worst run of form in the club's history.

Set to be without coach Anthony Seibold for the next fortnight due to COVID-19 isolation, assistant Peter Gentle will take the helm of a first grade side for the first time since spending two seasons with Hull FC in 2012-13.

Fourteen years after making his NRL debut fullback Darius Boyd will become just the 15th man to play 200 games for Brisbane, while forward Joe Ofahengaue will play his 100th game for the club.

Losing enigmatic forward Tevita Pangai Jr for a fortnight after breaching COVID-19 protocols, New Zealand Maori representative Jordan Riki will come into the squad for his NRL debut, while Cory Paix replaces Issac Luke in the utility role.

Last meeting: Round 6 2019 - Raiders 26 Broncos 22

Who to watch: Barely rating a mention upon his arrival in Canberra last season, Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has proven to be far more than a one-season wonder. Producing a stirring showing in defeat last week with two tries, 257 running metres and nine tackle breaks, the 25-year-old's performance was all the more impressive having dislocated his finger a fortnight earlier. Contracted to the Green Machine for the next three seasons, look for the New Zealand and Cook Islands international to thrive in his personal battle opposite Darius Boyd as the Raiders look to bounce back from the disappointment of last week.

Returning to the Broncos pack last Friday after missing five matches with knee bruising, fiery prop Matthew Lodge will need to step up as the Broncos fight to save their season. Playing just under a half of football off the bench in his comeback against South Sydney, the 25-year-old has been below his best in 2020 averaging approximately 50 fewer metres each game. Regarded as a forward leader at the club, the reformed enforcer will need to carry the load alongside Payne Haas to give the side any chance of pulling off an upset.

The favourite: Despite going down to the ladder leaders seven days earlier, the Raiders are well-supported to come away with two premiership points.

My tip: While the Broncos have won three of the past four clashes contested at GIO Stadium, it's hard to envision anything other than a Raiders win on a cold winter's night in the nation's capital. Raiders by 20.

1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Jordan Rapana 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Curtis Scott 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali'i 9. Siliva Havili 10. Dunamis Lui 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 16. Ryan Sutton 13. Hudson Young 14. Tom Starling 15. Joseph Tapine 17. Corey Harawira-Naera

1. Darius Boyd 2. Richard Kennar 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 21. Jesse Arthars 6. Brodie Croft 7. Tom Dearden 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Ben Te'o 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Cory Paix 15. Jordan Riki 16. Joe Ofahengaue 20. Rhys Kennedy

Referees: Chris Sutton; Sideline Officials: Phil Henderson, Drew Oultram; Video Referees: Steve Clark, Ben Galea;

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