NRL Match Preview: Raiders v Eels
Canberra Raiders v Parramatta Eels on Saturday at 5:30pm at GIO Stadium
Referees: Ashley Klein and Chris James
Video Referee: Steve Clarke and Steve Folkes
As the final curtain draws on their 2014 campaign, the Raiders are motivated to go out a bang to farewell departing players headlined by Co-Captain Brett White and build momentum leading into the 2015 season with the club’s third win in a row.
Canberra registered back-to-back victories for the first time this year after defeating the Sharks and the Tigers.
There has been just one change in the Raiders line-up from those consecutive victories with White returning for what will be the last appearance of his stellar NRL career.
CLICK HERE to see the Raiders team line-up.
White has represented Country, NSW and Australia with distinction throughout his 10 year career and won premierships with the Melbourne Storm in 2007 and 2009 before joining the Raiders in 2011.
Through his impressive leadership skills, the 32 year old has played an instrumental role in the blossoming careers of several of the club’s young stars, particularly that of Shannon Boyd.
As such, the players are thoroughly motivated to send White out on a winning note.
“He’s been great for me and really influential in my career so far and he’s done that for a lot of the younger guys in our side, so we want to send him out on a winning note just like he deserves” Boyd said.
Whilst the Raiders have won four out of their last five matches against the Eels they did in fact lose their last encounter in Round 22 with Jarryd Hayne proving to be the difference after a sensational two-try performance.
“We put in a really good effort up there in Darwin and it was a close game until a few lapses in concentration allowed Hayne to tear us apart,” Jarrad Kennedy said. “He’s a great player and you can’t afford to relax against him. We’ll be marking up on him heavily this Saturday.”
Parramatta will also have plenty to play for given that they are still a mathematical chance of making the semi-finals.
“Yeah the Eels have plenty to play for still but so do we,” Boyd said. “We want to finish the year with three win in a row to build momentum for next season and give the fans a reason to smile after what has been a tough season.
“We came close to beating them last time we played each other but we’re confident that we can get a win this time around in front of our home fans.”
Fans will have the opportunity to farewell all departing players after the match with the post-match presentation to take place on the field.
Anthony Milford v Jarryd Hayne
Although Milford has shifted from the fullback role for the Raiders, he and Eels ace Jarryd Hayne remain the most potent attacking threats for their respective sides and as such, both will feature prominently in Ricky Stuart and Brad Arthur’s defensive game plans.
In what is unfortunately his final season for the Raiders, Milford has been simply sensational. Once he made the decision to sign with the Broncos, the 20 year old asserted to the Raiders faithful that he would be giving his absolute all for the remainder of the season, to pay the club back for nurturing his talents since he was first signed to a scholarship at 13 years of age.
In addition to his 12 slashing tries, Milford has created multiple others for team mates and will be a vital cog in the Raiders attacking structure at five-eighth this Saturday.
Put simply, Hayne was the difference the last time these two sides clashed in Round 22 with two outstanding individual tries. If the Raiders had nullified his individual brilliance on that day, they would have won the game.
Jarrod Croker v Semi Radrada
The clash between these two flyers could well determine who takes the stage at the Dally M’s to claim the top try scorer’s honours.
Radrada has enjoyed a break-out season with the Eels in 2014 and currently sits in first place with 19 four pointers in his 23 appearances.
Croker is in equal second position with Hayne on 18 tries and has an opportunity draw level with one try or leapfrog Radrada altogether with multiple tries, which he has done several times throughout the year.
The Goulburn Stockmen junior will again Captain the Raiders this Saturday, alongside White, and will be driven for another big performance given the pride and passion he has for the club.
Shannon Boyd v Tim Mannah
Boyd has never shied away from how much he idolises the soon to be retired Brett White.
White has played an enormous role in Boyd’s development and would be overjoyed with how well the Cowra Magpies junior has played in his 20 matches this year.
Boyd wasn’t even in the top 25 at the start of the year however he has now firmly established himself in the Raiders top 17 and will in fact start the match alongside White.
“Whitey has played such a big role in my career and the rest of the team and I really want to send him out a winner,” Boyd said.
Mannah is Parramatta’s leader in the forwards and although he is not as explosive as young guns Junior Paulo or Peni Teripo, he has a huge motor which enables him to get through plenty of work in the middle for the Eels.
Record against the Eels:
In a total of 49 games against Parramatta, Canberra has won 24 games and lost 25.
Parramatta’s record at GIO Stadium:
In a total of 17 games played at GIO Stadium, the Eels have won on just four occasions.
Last three encounters:
1. Eels defeated Raiders 18-10 at TI0 Stadium in Round 22, 2014
2. Raiders defeated Eels 14-0 at GIO Stadium Canberra in Round 19, 2013
3. Raiders defeated Eels 40-34 at GIO Stadium Canberra in Round 10, 2012
He said it:
Jarrad Kennedy: “Three wins in a row will be a good way to finish off the year and help us to build momentum going into next season.”
CLICK HERE to see the full interview with Kennedy.
Shannon Boyd: “It’s sad to see Whitey retiring. He’s been a great player for a long time and he’s one of the best leaders you could imagine. He deserves to go out on top.”
CLICK HERE to see the full interview with Boyd.
Mitch Cornish: “I loved being able to start the match. I’ve been eased into the role by Ricky which I’ve been really thankful to him for but I want to stay spot there now.”
CLICK HERE to see the full interview with Cornish.