NRL Match Preview: Raiders v Tigers

The Raiders will aim to bounce back from consecutive losses when they take on the West Tigers at GIO Stadium on Saturday evening.

After heavy defeats at the hands of the Eels and the Sharks, Jordan Rapana said the team needs to go back to basics.

“Our strength is that we have a big pack. We run hard and we tackle hard when we want to. I think that’s what we have to go back to, doing the basics, running hard and not trying to play too fancy,” said Rapana.

Halfback Aidan Sezer said the side had been disappointing the last two weeks and needed to perform like they did against the Bulldogs.

“We’re obviously disappointed and dwelling on the losses of the last few weeks but we’ve got to come out here and train hard and rectify the problems,” said Sezer.

“We know where we are going wrong, we’ve addressed that. We need to simulate what we did against the Bulldogs and hopefully turn it into wins.”

The Raiders will be up against a Tigers outfit desperate for a win. After winning their first two games of the season, the Tigers have lost five matches in a row.

LINEUPS

Ricky Stuart has named Jarrad Kennedy, Clay Priest and Mitch Barnett on an extended bench for this weekend’s match. Apart from the three editions to the squad there are no other changes to the side that was named for the game against the Sharks. Sam Williams will once again start at five-eighth due to the absence of Blake Austin who has a hamstring injury.

RAIDERS NRL TEAM

Jason Taylor has made one change for the Tigers. Jesse Sue is named at lock meaning Dene Halatau is relegated to the bench. Former Raider Joel Edwards is 18th man.

TIGERS NRL TEAM

KEY MATCHUPS

Joey Leilua v Nathan Milone

The Raiders didn’t have their best game against the Sharks last weekend but Leilua was sensational. The center set up one try, busted through five tackles and managed three offloads. His combination with Rapana on the right edge has been a bright spot for the team over the last two weeks.

Nathan Milone has filled in for established star Tim Simona for the last two weeks while he serves a three-game suspension. The young center has been solid in his appearances so far this season but attempting to keep Leilua quiet could be a handful.

Aidan Sezer v Luke Brooks

The Raiders halfback expressed his disappointment in his most recent performances and will be looking to bounce back against the Tigers. Having scored three tries already this season, Sezer is a threat due to his creative ability and accurate kicking.

Brooks, alongside Moses and Tedesco, form the nucleus of a West Tigers team capable of scoring against any defense in the NRL. With six try assists so far this season, it’ll be important for the Raiders to prevent him time on the ball.

Josh Papalii v Chris Lawrence

The Raiders forwards have struggled to make meters the past two weeks but Papalii led the way against the Sharks, carrying the ball for 124 meters. His size and strength make him a genuine try-scoring option, having scored three tries already this season.

Lawrence has performed admirably since his shift to the second row last year. After struggling with injuries in previous seasons, the former Australian representative has managed to stay fit. Lawrence has been a constant presence for the Tigers, averaging almost 30 tackles a game.

STAT ATTACK

Record against the Tigers: In a total of 30 matches against the Wests Tigers, the Raiders have won 12 and lost 18.

Tigers record at GIO Stadium: The Tigers have played at GIO Stadium on 16 occasions, winning 9 and losing 7.

Last 3 encounters:

Tigers defeated Raiders 20-18 at GIO Stadium, Round 22 2015

Raiders defeated Tigers 30-22 at Leichhardt Oval, Round 7 2015

Raiders defeated Tigers 27-12 at GIO Stadium, Round 25 2014

HE SAID IT

Aidan Sezer: “We know where we are going wrong. We have addressed that. All the boys have been a bit disappointing and we know that.”

CLICK HERE for the full interview with Sezer.

Sam Williams: “The Tigers, when they play their best footy, are as dangerous a team as anyone. If we’re not on our game, it’s going to be another tough week.”

CLICK HERE for to read more from Williams.

Jordan Rapana: “A big focus for me personally is to make sure I’m being consistent and making sure I’m playing well every week. I enjoy playing anywhere in the backline.”

CLICK HERE for the full interview with Rapana.

GAME DAY GUIDE FOR RAIDERS V TIGERS