NRL Match Preview: Raiders v Warriors
Canberra Raiders v New Zealand Warriors on Sunday at 2:00pm at GIO Stadium Canberra
With an outstanding record against New Zealand at home, the Canberra Raiders will look to atone for the loss they received from the Warriors earlier this year when the two sides clash once again at GIO Stadium Canberra on Sunday.
The Raiders delivered an uncharacteristic performance against the Warriors in Round 9, going down 54-12 in disappointing fashion.
In front of a parochial crowd at Eden Park, the Kiwis ran riot over the Green Machine, breaking Canberra’s defensive line on seven occasions and scoring nine tries in total, all of which were converted by halfback Shaun Johnson.
The loss hurt the Raiders immensely and as such the side will be seeking revenge on Sunday afternoon.
English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon said back in the 1600's that “revenge is a wild kind of justice” and whilst New Zealand weren’t to blame for the poor display by Canberra, justice will be derived from a stellar performance that Raiders fans know the team is so capable of.
All these years later and Bacon’s words still hold strong relevance and Vice-Captain Brett White couldn’t agree more with Bacon.
“There was a lot of pain and a lot of hurt pride from that loss to the Warriors and Sunday is about repairing that and getting some revenge in the process,” White said.
“There is certainly a lot to play for on Sunday, there’s no doubt about that.”
As mentioned earlier, the Raiders will be aided by that fact that in a total of 11 games at GIO Stadium Canberra the Warriors have won on just one occasion.
“The performance by the Warriors back in Round 9 just goes to show you how much of a dangerous side they are but with all due respect we helped their cause on that day with one of our worst performances,” Dane Tilse said.
“We’re proud of our home record against the Warriors and we’ll be looking to keep that record up and to get some revenge on them for that earlier loss.
“The other good thing about playing the Warriors at home is that we have another chance to make it up to our fans.
“It’s been a tough year for us but they’ve still turned up in numbers at GIO Stadium throughout the year. It definitely doesn’t go unnoticed by the playing group and we want to show them how much we appreciate it on Sunday.”
In team news, the Raiders will be fielding the same line-up as last week against the Rabbitohs.
CLICK HERE to see how the Raiders will take the field.
The Raiders will be wearing their ISC Hulk jerseys on Sunday and fans are urged to “Go Green for Hulk” by wearing the specially designed jerseys or donning their most creative green outfits in order to win a fantastic array of prizes.
Anthony Milford v Sam Tomkins
Along with his partner in crime Johnson, Tomkins is the driving creative force for the Warriors. The English Test fullback is blessed with sublime running, passing and kicking skills which enable him to capitalise on his tremendous rugby league instincts.
The same can be said for the Samoan Test fullback, Anthony Milford.
Both players are popular crowd pleasers partly due to their diminutive stature and jaw-dropping feats on the field.
Whilst the extent of the opposing fullback’s magic will be determined by the dominance of their respective forward packs, the battle between Milford and Tomkins will certainly be an entertaining one.
Jarrod Croker v Konrad Hurrell
Hurrell was at his rampaging best against the Raiders back in Round 9, scoring a superb individual try, creating another, making three clean line breaks, busting through 11 tackles and running for over 200 metres.
Whilst Croker scored a double in the same match, it will be his defence that will need to be on song on Sunday when he again directly opposes Hurrell.
There is no question on Croker’s attacking ability however he had an off day in the Green Machine’s left hand defensive structure and Hurrell took full advantage.
Like all good players, expect Croker to rise to the challenge on Sunday to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Kurt Baptiste v Feleti Mateo
With a difference of 26cm and 24kg, you may be asking how these two will ever directly oppose each other?
And you’re right.
But although Baptiste and Mateo will rarely encounter one another directly on the field the pair are the major attacking players selected on the interchange bench for their respective sides.
Baptiste has been thoroughly impressive when injected onto the field by Ricky Stuart, with his footballing intellect, sniping runs from dummy half and swift passing game greatly enhancing the Raiders play.
Mateo’s attacking talents are well renowned with the Tongan international possessing a ball playing ability that few forwards in the game can match. Canberra’s defence will have to be on high alert when Mateo enters the field given his uncanny ability to offload amidst heavy traffic.
Record against the Warriors:
In a total of 31 games against New Zealand, Canberra has won 17 games and lost 14.
Warriors record at GIO Stadium Canberra:
In a total of 11 games at GIO Stadium Canberra the Warriors have won on just one occasion.
Last three encounters:
1. New Zealand defeated Canberra 54-12 at Eden Park in Round 9 2014
2. New Zealand defeated Canberra 50-16 at Mt Smart Stadium in Round 25 2013
3. Canberra defeated New Zealand 20-16 at GIO Stadium Canberra in Round 6 2013
Anthony Milford has scored the last try five times in the Raiders last nine matches.
They said it:
Brett White: “So many of us contributed a lot of simple errors last week and at this level in the game you just can’t do that and expect to be competitive.”
Dane Tilse: “It’s embarrassing at the moment. The fans are hurting and the players are too with where we are at the moment. We want to finish the year off well with as many wins as we can to put a bit of pride back into the jersey.”
Josh Papalii: “I was fairly happy with my performance against the Rabbitohs. I’m starting to look after myself better off the field and it’s showing on the field.”
Paul Vaughan: “The boys have been giving me a bit of stick about the television ad but I love the jersey and I can’t wait to run out wearing it this weekend. I’ve seen a fair amount of people wearing them around Canberra so hopefully there’s a few more at GIO Stadium on Sunday.”