Coming off the back of three straight wins, the Raiders will be looking to claim another victim at GIO Stadium on Friday night when they take on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.
Having grinded out a tough win last week against the Warriors, scoring three tries to one after trailing at half-time, the Raiders have another tough match in front of them coming up against a resilient Sea Eagles side, which are looking to get their season back on track after back-to-back losses.
Canberra seems to be a home away from home for the Manly based side, who have won five of their last six in the nation’s capital. This shouldn’t faze the Raiders however, as they enjoy playing under the lights of a Friday night, winning four of their last five Friday night games at GIO Stadium including a 12-point win over Manly last year.
There is no doubt that the Raiders best attack comes from its strike players on the edges, and this week is set to be no different. The Raiders right edge broke a total of 13 tackles against the Warriors with Rapana busting through seven and Leilua breaking eight.
On the other side of the spectrum, Manlys left edge let in six tries last week against the Storm with Jorge Taufua and Brian Kelly missing six tackles between them, suggesting Austin and Sezer will be sending a lot of traffic their way.
Despite the differences in form for eacj team, the Raiders are well aware of how good the Sea Eagles are capable of being and Aidan Sezer is weary not to underestimate them.
“We don’t take any team for granted, every game is tough in this competition,” Sezer said.
“If you’re looking at games as danger games, you’re underestimating the team. We’ll be preparing accordingly, focusing on our job and trying to perform well for our club and our fans. “
With the added pressure of ANZAC round, there is sure to be plenty of passion out on the field between both teams, but Sezer will be looking to use this as an opportunity to go for four wins in a row.
“It’s always good to gain a bit of momentum and get a few wins on the trot.”
“We had a good run last year and hopefully we can get on a run now. We’ve got a good opportunity at home this week to go four in a row and we’ll be looking to do that.”
In a high-scoring affair, the Raiders attack was too good for the Sea Eagles back in Round 25 last year, outclassing Trent Barrett’s men 44-30.
Leilua and Rapana had a starring role in the win with Rapana crossing for a hat-trick and Leilua bagging a double at Brookvale Oval.
See highlights from the last time the Raiders and Sea Eagles met in the video below.
Shannon Boyd vs Martin Taupau
Two international props will go toe-to-toe when Shannon Boyd marks up against Martin Taupau this Friday. Boyd, who has played four games for Australia, will have his work cut out for him trying to contain arguably the strongest player in the NRL in Martin Taupu. Taupau has played 14 tests for New Zealand and will be looking to use his experience to get over the top of the young forward from Cowra.
Taupau makes his return to the NRL this week after suffering a rib injury against the Dragons putting him on the sideline for one week. This could give Boyd a slight edge over the Kiwi international, but you can never underestimate the power of Taupau.
Jordan Rapana vs Jorge Taufua
Speed and agility meets strength and power in this matchup as Rapana and Taufua battle it out on the edge. Both players have different styles, with Rapana known for his pace down the side line and frantic plays he is capable of pulling off, while Taufua is known for his barnstorming runs and carrying multiple defenders with him over the try line.
Taufua had a rough game last week against the Storm, letting in six tries down his edge and missing three tackles. If he continues this, coming up against the tackle-breaking ability of Rapana who broke seven tackles last week and 18 the week prior, it could be a tough day at the office for Taufua.
Joe Tapine vs Jake Trbojevic
These two up and coming forwards will square off against each with the winner potentially having a big influence on who wins the game. Locking up the scrum for either team, Tapine and Trbojevic are both touted for big things in the coming years with their strong running and tireless work in defence.
Trbojevic isn’t shy of crossing the line for a try, recording a four-pointer last week against the Storm. If Tapine can hold out the 107kg forward close to the line and prevent his late offloads, it will go a long way to helping the Raiders finish on top this Friday.
“A big focus for us is making sure we stay in the game for 80 and play the whole way out, for Manly they are able to get in a grind and stay with teams so we gotta make sure we’re on our game.”
Manly hold the upper-hand in their head-to-head history against the Raiders, winning 30 of the 51 encounters between the two teams. The Raiders have won their last two matches against the Sea Eagles, both played last year.
The past decade has been very fruitful for the Sea Eagles against the Raiders, having won 10 of the 14 matches played.
As of Tuesday, April 18.
|Canberra Raiders||Manly Sea Eagles|
|1. Jack Wighton||1 Tom Trbojevic|
|2. Nick Cotric||2 Jorge Taufua|
|3. Jarrod Croker (C)||3 Dylan Walker|
|4. Joey Leilua||4 Brian Kelly|
|5. Jordan Rapana||5 Akuila Uate|
|6. Blake Austin||6 Blake Green|
|7. Aidan Sezer||7 Daly Cherry-Evans (C)|
|8. Junior Paulo||8 Brenton Lawrence|
|9. Josh Hodgson||9 Apisai Koroisau|
|10. Shannon Boyd||10 Martin Taupau|
|11. Josh Papalii||11 Frank Winterstein|
|12. Elliott Whitehead||12 Curtis Sironen|
|13. Joe Tapine||13 Jake Trbojevic|
|14. Adam Clydsdale||14 Lewis Brown|
|15. Luke Bateman||15 Jackson Hastings|
|16. Dunamis Lui||16 Darcy Lussick|
|17. Sia Soliola||17 Addin Fonua-Blake|
|18. Dave Taylor||18 Nate Myles|
|19. Jordan Turner||19 Cameron Cullen|
|20. Makahesi Makatoa||20 Matthew Wright|
|21. Lachlan Croker||21 Shaun Lane|