It all starts this Saturday, with the Raiders going up against the Penrith Panthers, both of whom are trying to showcase how serious their finals ambitions are. We compiled a list of five things we can’t wait to see in round one.
Agree or disagree with our selections? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!
- The English lads
Josh Hodgson was a revelation in the NRL last season, cementing his position as the Raiders starting Hooker. After impressing in the trial against the Knights, many fans will be expecting a big performance come Saturday from Hodgo.
He will be joined this season by his countryman Elliott Whitehead, a barnstorming back rower who will be starting on Saturday. Whitehead was lethal in the trial against the Knights, with many tipping the English international for big things in 2016.
- Austin, Williams and Sezer
The biggest story to come out of the team announcement was Austin, Williams and Sezer all being named in the 17. Austin will start on the bench, with Williams and Sezer partnering in the halves, a combination that looked slick in the Raiders trial match.
Have you seen the NRL team list for Saturday yet? CLICK HERE to view it.
Having spent the majority of the off-season recovering from shoulder surgery, it was a major topic of discussion whether Austin would be named in the round one side. Many fans will be eagerly waiting in anticipation to see what form Austin brings to the field on Saturday.
- Summer footy
The forecast for Saturday is 35 degrees. Yes you read that correctly. Grab your sombrero, sunblock and embrace what may be the Raiders hottest game of the year. We can’t guarantee it will be summer weather the whole season, so enjoy it while it lasts!
- The deadly right edge of Leilua and Rapana
Leilua and Rapana were lethal on the right edge during the Raiders trial against the Knights. The line-breaking, high-flying duo will have many fans on the edge of their seats on Saturday. Both have enjoyed excellent off-seasons and will be ready and raring to go at kick-off on Saturday.
Leilua and Rapana aren’t just excellent performers on the field, CLICK HERE to check out their latest Instagram duet.
- Emerging stars
The Raiders NRL line-up is full of genuine superstars who will form the backbone of the team for years to come. There is however two rugby league games on before the NRL action, providing a great opportunity to see many of the stars of the future.
Don’t miss out on seeing the Raiders new cult hero Kato Ottio in action for the Mounties against Penrith Panthers at 12.40pm. Joining Kato will be Sisa Waqa, Luke Bateman, Mitch Barnett, Zac Santo, Brenko Lee and the Kennedy brothers.
Before the Mounties, the Raiders young stars will kick off the day’s action at 10.40am against the Penrith Panthers in the Holden Cup competition. Under head coach Brett White, the Raiders NYC team is full of talent including Lachlan Croker, Jack Williams, Thomas Cronan and Chevi Ellis, who all played for the Raiders Auckland Nines team.
Have you got your tickets for Saturday yet? CLICK HERE to buy now!