It’s nice to finally get back to the normal competition!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like the season takes a break throughout origin period.

So many byes and teams missing their superstars makes the competition feel a little different.

Granted, this week still sees byes for four teams but I’m not caring a whole lot. Why?

Because the mighty Raiders are back on deck, that’s why! And with a point to prove.

It feels like forever since we’ve had a home game and this week is no different as the boys travel north to take on the Bird-less Titans.

If ever there was a game to bring back some pride, this is the one.

The Titans are running a little busted and now is the time to get them.

Greg Bird is serving an Origin suspension and Nate Myles is backing up from Wednesday’s Origin.

As is Dave Taylor but who’s really concerned about him?

Our boys should be fit, rested, and ready to fire.

This would have been the time I’d be congratulating Jeremy Hawkins on his debut, but alas, his time will have to wait due to second tier salary cap restrictions.

So expect to see a familiar face returning on the wing, while Brenko Lee shuffles into the centres.

While the finals dream appears to be dead and buried in an unmarked grave somewhere this season, there is still plenty of reasons for the boys to get out there and give it to the Titans!

Brenko Lee definitely has reason. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he goes in what would have to be a favoured position for him.

He’s had some brilliant and not so brilliant moments so far; however this is his chance to show everyone he belongs at this level.

I hope he comes out absolutely firing and terrorises the Titans defence.

It’s also good to see Kurt Baptise getting another run off the bench.

Solid in his debut appearance for the Raiders, he must be jumping out of his skin at the opportunity to impress.

With obvious competition for wing spots in the Raiders line up, Sami Sauiluma is another one who will be hoping to earn some permanency in the starting line-up.

And of course, there’s always pride to play for.

I can’t believe it’s only Round 18 and I’m saying this already, but avoiding the wooden spoon should be plenty of motivation!

I wasn’t even born the last time the Raiders took home that ‘joyous’ prize, and I don’t plan on seeing the second one.

So get out there boys and absolutely rip in! We are all still behind you and will retain the faith as always; win, lose or draw. But a win would definitely be appreciated!!!