CANBERRA RAIDERS V GOLD COAST TITANS
SATURDAY MAY 9, 10.40AM, GIO STADIUM
The Canberra Raiders are heading into the clash with the Gold Coast Titans looking to bounce back from a 36-22 defeat to South Sydney two weeks ago which occurred in bizarre circumstances after the game was called off due to horrendous conditions.
With just under 10 minutes to go in the match against Souths, the Rabbitohs led 36-22 however the Raiders were finishing the match strongly and primed to secure a come-from-behind win. Alas, hail starting pelting down at Erskinville Oval and the game was called off, which allowed the Rabbitohs to walk away with the two points.
After a subsequent week off due to the representative round, Coach Mick Mantelli is confident that the players are ready to go for this weekend and make up for that disappointment.
“We have had a bit of recovery and focused on getting some enthusiasm back into the group and then back into trying to improve on what were we deficient on," Mantelli said.
Mantelli was also pleased that he could include Lachlan Croker in the side for the first time in four games after recovering from a shoulder injury.
“We have been playing the last four weeks without any recognised halves so it is hugely important to have Lachlan back.”
Croker is not the only important player returning to the field this weekend. Tevita Pangia Junior also returns to the side after serving a three match suspension which adds to the experience on the field. The return of Croker also means that Brenko Lee is able to return to his recognised position in the centres.
Currently sitting in 8th position on the NYC table with a record of four wins and four losses, the Green Machine will be looking to add another win to their tally when they take on a Gold Coast side who are currently sitting 12th and with a record of three wins and five losses.
Players to Watch
Zac Woolford has really stepped up in the last few weeks since coming into the side in the absence of players such as Croker and Lachlan Lewis, and has adapted to help lead the side around the field and show leadership qualities.
Similarly, Luke Bateman has shown the quality of his leadership ability in the games that he has played for the NYC side this year so far and now that he has some NRL experience to add to it, the Queensland Under 20's representative is set to take his game to a new level. Look for him to be rock hard in defence and stand up as Captain of the young side.
The game day action starts early at GIO Stadium on Saturday with the NYC kicking off at 10:30am.
This will be followed by the NSW Cup game between the Mounties and Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs at 12:40pm, and finally the NRL game between the Green Machine and Titans kicks off at 3:00pm.