The Canberra Raiders host the Penrith Panthers in what should be a hard-fought contest between two teams who are in need of the points.
Canberra have finally kicked into gear with three convincing victories in a row. Having scored 30 points or more in each of those games, their attack has finally come good.
Penrith have climbed into the top eight on the back of recent form. A win at the NRL’s capital club could see them move as high as fourth, should other results fall in their favour.
2017 – Rd 14 – Panthers 24 def. Raiders 20 at Carrington Park
2016 – Semi Final – Raiders 22 def. Panthers 12 at GIO Stadium
2016 – Rd 9 – Panthers 19 def. Raiders 18 at Carrington Park
2016 – Rd 1 – Raiders 30 def. Panthers 22 at GIO Stadium
2015 – Rd 25 – Raiders 34 def. Panthers 18 at GIO Stadium
The Raiders have the edge over Penrith at the GIO Stadium having won the previous three encounters at the ground. Penrith did win the other two games from the last five meetings, albeit at Carrington Park.
|Jack Wighton||1||1||Dylan Edwards|
|Nick Cotric||2||2||Josh Mansour|
|Jarrod Croker||3||3||Tyrone Peachey|
|Joseph Leilua||4||4||Waqa Blake|
|Jordan Rapana||5||5||Dallin Watene-Zelezniak|
|Blake Austin||6||6||Matt Moylan|
|Aidan Sezer||7||7||Nathan Cleary|
|Junior Paulo||8||8||James Tamou|
|Josh Hodgson||9||9||Sione Katoa|
|Shannon Boyd||10||10||Reagan Campbell-Gillard|
|Josh Papalii||11||11||Corey Harawira-Naera|
|Joseph Tapine||12||12||Isaah Yeo|
|Elliott Whitehead||13||13||Moses Leota|
|Kurt Baptiste||14||14||Tyrone May|
|Clay Priest||15||15||Bryce Cartwright|
|Dave Taylor||16||16||Tim Browne|
|Luke Bateman||17||17||James Fisher-Harris|
|Michael Oldfield||18||18||Trent Merrin|
|Jeff Lima||19||19||Dean Whare|
|Royce Hunt||20||20||Viliame Kikau|
|Erin Clark||21||21||Mitch Rein|
The Facts Of The Matter
Canberra come into the game riding a wave of momentum and need to keep their form up if they have aspirations of making the finals series. Josh Hodgson may be key to the Raiders chances again as whenever the number nine plays well, the Raiders also perform.
A couple of weeks ago they were at their best in a victory over the Sharks in an almost flawless display. Similar displays in the closing rounds of the regular season might be needed to earn a top eight spot.
The Panthers are slowly becoming the side that many thought they would be prior to the season, when there were touted as Premiership contenders. They have won six in a row to move into the top eight but a drop off in form could see their finals hopes slip away.
Nathan Cleary has expertly led the Panthers around the park and has been the catalyst for their upturn in form. If the Raiders can stop Cleary, then they’ll have half a chance of coming away with the points.
It’s tough to split two sides who are in good form and playing some attractive footy. The Raiders are out to keep their finals dream alive and should sneak the win. Raiders by 4.
Who do you think will win this one and take a huge step toward finals footy, the Raiders or the Panthers? Let us know in the comments and poll below.
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