The New Zealand Warriors’ season may be over as yet another year of expectation and hope has faded away into obscurity and desolation. However, after handing the 16th-placed Knights their second win in a row last week, the Warriors have something to play for again; even if it is only their own pride. A will to win has been missing from the Warriors, with coach Stephen Kearney questioning whether his players still care. They may be out of top eight contention but the Warriors owe their fans a strong home performance.
Canberra, meanwhile, are still on a high after toppling the Premiers last week. The win continued the momentum train the Raiders are on, with destination finals just four wins away should results go their way. It’s vital that the Raiders don’t underestimate their opponents, even if this would’ve been a game on the run-in that they may have earmarked as a potential win. Josh Hodgson returned to the form that had his name thrown around as a Dally M contender last year. He’s certainly been quieter in 2017 but if the Englishman has truly got his mojo back, then the Warriors will have to be alert to him. If not, the Green Machine’s number nine could run riot.
2017 – Rd 7 Canberra 20 def. New Zealand 8 at GIO Stadium
2016 – Rd 20 Canberra 26 def. New Zealand 22 at GIO Stadium
2016 – Rd 11 Canberra 38 def New Zealand 12 at Yarrow Stadium
2015 – Rd 16 New Zealand 30 def Canberra 8 Mt Smart Stadium
2015 – Rd 2 New Zealand 18 def Canberra 6 at GIO Stadium
The Warriors have won two of the last five meetings between the sides however Canberra have ran out victorious on the last three occasions. The last two games between these teams have been played at the Raiders’ GIO Stadium with New Zealand’s last win coming at the Mt Smart Stadium back in 2015.
|Roger Tuivasa-Sheck||1||1||Jack Wighton|
|David Fusitua||2||2||Nick Cotric|
|Blake Ayshford||3||3||Jarrod Croker|
|Solomone Kata||4||4||Joseph Leilua|
|Ken Maumalo||5||5||Jordan Rapana|
|Kieran Foran||6||6||Blake Austin|
|Mason Lino||7||7||Aidan Sezer|
|Jacob Lillyman||8||8||Junior Paulo|
|Nathaniel Roache||9||9||Josh Hodgson|
|Ben Matulino||10||10||Shannon Boyd|
|Bunty Afoa||11||11||Josh Papalii|
|Ryan Hoffman||12||12||Joseph Tapine|
|Simon Mannering||13||13||Elliott Whitehead|
|Issac Luke||14||14||Kurt Baptiste|
|Sam Lisone||15||15||Clay Priest|
|Isaiah Papali’i||16||16||Dave Taylor|
|James Bell||17||17||Luke Bateman|
|Jazz Tevaga||18||18||Michael Oldfield|
|Tevita Satae||20||19||Jeff Lima|
|Ata Hingano||21||20||Royce Hunt|
|Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad||22||21||Erin Clark|
The facts that matter
New Zealand Warriors
The book may be prematurely closed on the Warriors’ season as they’re once again left to reflect on this year as another year clouded with failure. But like all books, the thing it’ll be remembered for most is its ending, the one thing the Warriors can control. There have never been doubts about the talent in their side but a lack of effort has been noted by fans, critics and most recently coach Kearney. They have to turn this around if they’re to salvage anything from 2017.
If the Warriors are to stop a Raiders outfit riding high on a wave of momentum, they’re going to have to be up for the fight. Early points might get the Warriors rolling but any lack of discipline is likely to be punished.
If the Raiders want to continue their path on a dream run into the finals, they have to assert dominance over a Warriors outfit shrouded with inconsistency and disappointment. Currently on 22 points, two wins outside of the top eight, anything less than a victory could be costly. The Raiders simply must win, particularly given that their run-in will see them face the Panthers and the Storm.
If Hodgson can once again take control of this Raiders outfit, they’ll be in much better stead to walk away from Mt Smart Stadium with the win.
Last week’s games have these sides at opposite ends of the form spectrum. The Raiders looked to have found the key to recapturing their 2016 performances last week, claiming a win over Cronulla. On the other hand, if there’s a team looking for answers, then it’s the Warriors. Their loss to the Knights only rubbed salt into the wounds of New Zealand fans. Based on current form, and what is at stake with a loss, it’s impossible to not tip the Raiders. Canberra by 16.
Who do you think will come out on top in this one, the Warriors or the Raiders? Let us know in the comments below.
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