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NRL Match Preview: Raiders v Warriors

Rd23Preview

Top eight hopes are on the line for the Canberra Raiders while the Warriors are desperate to end a five-week nightmare without a win when they meet this Sunday in Auckland.

The New Zealand outfit crashed to a new low last week with a limp effort in a 26-10 loss to the Newcastle Knights, their 13th defeat of the season.

The Raiders on the other hand claimed the scalp of defending premiers the Cronulla Sharks, downing them 30-12 in convincing fashion to keep themselves within four points of a finals berth.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has dropped veteran hooker Issac Luke back to the bench in favour of Nathaniel Roache, while Ryan Hoffman is back in the second row. Jazz Tevaga is in the reserves after starting at lock against Newcastle.

Canberra have maintained the same 17 as they look to make it three wins on the trot, with Ricky Stuart shifting Elliott Whitehead at lock.

Last Time: It was the green machine who took the two points with a win at home in round 7 this season. Two tries to Joey Leilua and one to Josh Hodgson was enough to grind out a win againt the men from Auckland. 

Both teams will field almost the same side as they lined up in round 7 this year and you can expect that the Warriors will be fired up for some revenge.

Key Matchups:

Jack Wighton v Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

Nothing like a good old fashioned battle between the fullbacks. Both have the bility to gain huge metres for their side. The pressure will be on  the Warriors captain to try and steer his side to victory on home turf and the New Zealand international will be more than primed for the occasion.

For the season Wighton has made over 3060 metres with the ball including 7 line breaks while Tuivasa-Sheck has made 3268 running metres with 11 line breaks.

Mannering v Whitehead

Battle of the locks! Raiders fans were crying out for Elliott Whitehead to be selected at lock again this week after the English international produced a sensational performance in the Raiders 30-12 win over the Sharks last weekend.

He will come up against a seasoned campaigner in Mannering who has been solid for the Warriors in his playing career. Mannering will be expected to make more tackles however it's Whitehead's skill with the ball and versatility that has been a real threat for the Raiders this season.

The English international has 4 tries and 5 try assists with a toal of 624 tackles. It's quite clear that Mannering is more defensive with 4 tries and 0 try assists with a total of 803 tackles.

Baptiste v Luke

The selection of Roache at hooker in place of Luke was a surprising one and Warriors coach will be hopig that Luke's presence off the bench will provide a boost to the Warriors during the match.

Baptiste is a fan favourite amongst Raiders fans for his impact off the bench which can also offer a different option from out of dummy half. The battle of the impact players will certainly be an intriguing one to watch this weekend.

Quote of the week "The Warriors are always a good footy side, they are big and agressive so we will have to take the same approach as we did last weekend." - Shannon Boyd.

Head-to-Head 33 games have been played between the two sides. The Raider slightly edge it with 17 wins whilst the Warriors have 16. A win for the home side would evenly split the two across the 34 games.