Raiders v Roosters preview

COMP NRL
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Canberra Raiders v Sydney Roosters Sunday 4:05pm at GIO Stadium Canberra, Bruce

Raiders welcome Roosters and the big freeze

After his side slammed the lid on Cronulla's unbeaten run in the Shire, Origin has come at the worst time for Trent Robinson. Now missing three big names, the sixth placed Roosters face a desperate Raiders, themselves without stars Josh Papalii and Jack Wighton.

As ice cold conditions grip the nation's capital, for James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou and Lindsay Collins, losing their seat on the bus probably ranks a narrow second to the joy of Origin selection.

Just a week after Penrith clipped their wings, a Tedesco masterclass propelled the Roosters to a season best performance. Replacement Joseph Manu is no Teddy but he won't let anyone down, and with centre Kevin Naiqama and winger Billy Smith joining him in the backline, it's a lineup that still packs plenty of punch.

They're still strong up-front too. Last season an Origin weakened Roosters struggled against a battling Bulldogs packs. Now with Collins in Maroons camp, Angus Crichton's omission from the Blues along with the promotion of Sitili Tupouniua leaves a pack more than capable of matching Canberra's front six led by the revitalised Joseph Tapine.

For Ricky Stuart, the fact his Green Machine have only won two of the past eight against their 2019 grand final rivals shouldn't be a deterrent. After a rough start to the season, their rebound has been spectacular, and if not for a couple of brain explosions against Parramatta they'd be on a four game winning streak.

Last season it was Sam Williams who covered for Wighton as a depleted Raiders downed Manly, this year fellow veteran Matt Frawley gets the nod. Corey Horsburgh's lift in form sees him start in Papalii's boots while Corey Harawira-Naera returns from NSW Cup to join Trey Mooney on the interchange.

Sitting in 10th place just two points outside the top-eight, a sneaky upset here could reignite Ricky's mid-season revival. With the representative jaded Broncos to follow, then the Knights, Dragons and a bye, there's plenty for Canberra fans to be excited about.

For Robinson, a ride on Luna Park's ghost train would be more enjoyable than reading the upcoming schedule. If the Storm doesn't get his heart pumping, then the away trips to Parramatta and Penrith that follow should have him screaming for a bucket.

Last meeting: Round 25 2021 - Raiders 16 Roosters 40

Who to watch: On debut for the Green Machine, Jamal Fogarty hit the ground running last week after a knee injury sidelined him for the opening 12 rounds. Still finding his feet, the former Gold Coast playmaker now has the added task of teaming with Frawley in Wighton's absence.

It promises to be an onerous task, and against the settled Roosters combination of Sam Walker and Luke Keary, how they combine will go a long way to deciding the result. Last week Robinson couldn't hide his delight post match, paying tribute to his pack before complementing his halves for exploiting the advantage through a mix of short sides and long open sides.

The favourite: Despite providing more players to Origin than the Raiders, it's the Roosters who start the final match of Round 13 as favourite.

My tip: On current form, Canberra are far better than their 10th spot on the ladder and if they had their time again on a couple of plays last week, they may have got the Eels. But it's that attention to detail, especially in the absence of the experienced Papalii and Wighton that could haunt them again, especially against an opponent still riddled with big name stars. Roosters by 8.


1. Xavier Savage 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Matt Frawley 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Corey Horsburgh 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Adam Elliott 14. Tom Starling 15. Ryan Sutton 17. Trey Mooney 18. James Schiller 19. Harry Rushton

1. Joseph Manu 2. Billy Smith 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Sam Walker 7. Luke Keary 15. Fletcher Baker 9. Drew Hutchison 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Nat Butcher 14. Connor Watson 16. Egan Butcher 17. Terrell May 19. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 18. Lachlan Lam


Referees: Adam Gee; Sideline Officials: Kasey Badger, Drew Oultram; Video Referees: Chris Butler;



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