Canberra Raiders v Brisbane Broncos on Monday at 7:00pm at GIO Stadium Canberra
Canberra will head into Monday night’s clash with the Brisbane Broncos with the mindset that the fixture will be worth four competition points given that the Raiders are scheduled to have the bye the following week.
The possible four points will do wonders for Canberra in their bid to climb up the competition ladder after what has admittedly been a tough month for the Green Machine.
“This is the biggest game of the year for us in my opinion,” Captain Terry Campese said. “It’s potentially a four point win for us because we are going into the bye the following week.
“Four points from a good win over the Broncos will bring us closer to the rest of the pack and give us a lot of confidence heading into the next home match against the Bulldogs.”
Whilst the Raiders are coming off a narrow loss to the Sydney Roosters in Round 12, many people are overlooking the fact that although they were far from their best, the Green Machine still managed to push the defending premiers for the majority of the 80 minutes.
“Even though we didn’t get the win on the weekend we put in a solid performance and really tested a team which I think is the best in the competition,” Campese said. “We know we have plenty to improve on and we will continue to work hard at that, but it goes to show that when we do click, we will trouble the very best teams in the competition.”
Coincidently, Brisbane has emerged as one of the competition’s form sides in recent weeks.
The Broncos are currently on a three match winning streak and were extremely impressive against the Manly Sea Eagles in their Round 12 triumph. That win saw them climb to sixth place on the ladder and the Red-Hill based side will be further boosted by the return of international stars Justin Hodges and Sam Thaiday from injury.
Dale Copely, who scored a double last weekend, moves to the wing at the expense of Lachlan Maranta.
“The Broncos have a strong team regardless of the return of Hodges and Thaiday,” Campese said. They were outstanding on the weekend without those two players and they will be boosted further by the return of Hodges and Thaiday. They’re two world class players and we will need to watch them carefully.”
The Raiders will be heartened by the fact that the Broncos have traditionally struggled when playing in the Nation’s Capital having won on just one occasion from their last five fixtures at GIO Stadium.
“Hopefully when they get off the plane it will be nice and cold for them and we can be at our best in front of a strong crowd at GIO Stadium.”
Anthony Milford v Ben Barba
Dazzling footwork, blinding acceleration and instinctive attacking brilliance which regularly brings the crowd to their feet; this type of player is the sort that brings fans through the gate and if the footballing gods were to duplicate such a player for an entertaining individual match-up, then you wouldn’t have to look further than the clash between Milford and Barba.
Both fullbacks are pocket rockets who provide their side with the attacking force to either ignite something from nothing or to enable their silky skills to feature prominently in set plays.
Seeing these two mighty mice weave their magic is sure to bring the crowds through the gate and to their feet.
Sure there will be talk surrounding Milford’s pending departure to Brisbane next year but that is not worrying his team mates or the man himself one iota.
“Tony has proved that he is 100% committed to this side for the remainder of the year through his outstanding performances on the field and we have no doubt that he will give his all again this weekend regardless of who we’re playing,” Dane Tilse said.
Mitch Cornish v Ben Hunt
Ben Hunt has come of age this year so much so that his name has been tossed into the ring as a potential Origin bolter due to the possible unavailability of Cooper Cronk and Daly Cherry Evans.
Hunt was brilliant in the win over Sea Eagles and has been consistently among the Broncos top performers in all 12 matches this year, scoring seven tries in total.
Cornish has been provided with gradual experience in the NR by Ricky Stuart but could be set for his highest amount of game time thus far against the Broncos.
The former Junior Kangaroo has been impressive in his two appearances, engineering a try in both of his appearances in the top grade.
Shaun Fensom v Matt Gillett
Both lock forwards are highly influential to their respective sides and their team mates simply love playing with them as a result.
Gillett has been terrific this year scoring seven tries and averaging 120 metres and 28 tackles per game in his 11 appearances for the year.
Meanwhile, Fensom has again left 'Dream Team Coaches' around the nation thirilled with his super-human average of 47 tackles and 110 metres per game in his 11 appearances.
There have been a plethora of queries as to why Fensom hasn’t yet tasted representative rugby league and a dominant performance over Queensland Origin representative, Gillett, will provide the 25 year old further fuel the claiims as to why he should be included in that arena.
Last 3 results:
- Canberra defeated Brisbane 30-18 at GIO Stadium Canberra in Round 13 2013
- Canberra defeated Brisbane 28-12 at GIO Stadium Canberra in Round 22 2012
- Brisbane defeated Canberra 30-6 at Suncorp Stadium in Round 7 2012
Record against the Broncos:
In a total of 44 games against the Broncos, the Raiders have registered 19 wins, 1 draw and 24 losses.
Broncos record at GIO Stadium Canberra:
In a total of 21 games played at GIO Stadium Canberra, the Broncos have won just 8 games, drawn once and lost on 12 occasions.
They said it:
Dane Tilse: “It’s a must-win game for us if we are to keep up to pace with the other teams ahead of us on the ladder. There’s a bit of a log-jam at the foot of the eight and we don’t want to be at the bottom of that so it’s obviously a massive game for us.”
Terry Campese: “I think that Ricky will get Mitch [Cornish] into the game a bit earlier this week. He’s got a massive future and has really injected some enthusiasm into the side when he has come on.”
Brett White: “As the season goes on we’re putting more pressure on ourselves. We’re only halfway through the season but we need to keep in touch with the top eight. We can’t afford to slip away.”
Shannon Boyd: “I’ve really been enjoying receiving more game time. I feel like I am getting better as an NRL player the more minutes I play every match and Ricky and Dean have been great in bringing me along. I want to be out there in the thick of the action trying to make a difference.”