Five Things: Raiders v Broncos
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- Oates Stirs the Pot
Broncos and Maroons winger Corey Oates is either a very honest man…or he is attempting to use mind games to get the edge over the Raiders dangerous Leipana (Leilua + Rapana) combination.
When asked for his thoughts on the Raiders lethal right edge, Oates claimed he knew little about them.
"I really don't know. I don't really watch much footy – I will play whoever pops up against me. From what I hear they are a good combination but I seriously couldn't tell you,” Oates said.
Arguably the form centre and wing combination in the league, Leipana will want to waste no time introducing themselves to Oates and his centre partner Jack Reed on Thursday night.
- The Big Show
It’s been four years since the Raiders have travelled up north to play at the Broncos fortress of Suncorp Stadium.
Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton and Josh Papalii are the only remaining members of the Raiders team that went down 30-6 to the Broncos in Round Seven 2012. Kurt Baptiste occupied a spot on the Broncos bench for that game, and will make his first return in Raiders colours to Suncorp Stadium on Thursday.
Regularly drawing crowds of 40,000 fanatical fans, it’s going to be a baptism of fire for the Raiders younger players on Thursday night, many of whom are more used to playing in front of crowds a third that size.
- The Encore of Paulo
All it took was one hit-up and Junior Paulo instantly became a fan favourite amongst the Raiders faithful. Almost sending Jamie Buhrer flying up into the grandstand, Paulo showed he had well and truly settled into his new colours.
All eyes will be on Paulo on Thursday night, as the 22 year old faces off against the legendary Broncos forward pack. Already renowned as one of the most exciting teams in the competition, Paulo adds another must-watch element to the Raiders team seeking four straight wins.
- Flying Santo
“Zac Who?!” many Raiders fans were thinking when the team lists for Round 13 were released. Zac Santo has been flying under the radar since joining the Raiders during pre-season. Santo has played one first grade game for his previous club, the Cowboys.
Santo first pulled on the Raiders jersey in the 2016 Auckland Nines, scoring two tries and impressing throughout the tournament with his speed and support play. A cornerstone of the Mounties success so far this season, Santo will get his shot at first grade on Thursday night when he replaces the suspended Jack Wighton.
- The Magic Four
All the stands between the Raiders and a spot in the top four are competition heavyweights the Broncos. It’s been contrasting fortunes for the two teams lately, with the Raiders rolling along nicely after three straight wins, while the Broncos are reeling after three consecutive losses.
A win on Thursday night will have the Raiders perfectly positioned heading into a much needed bye in Round 15. As coach Ricky has repeatedly stressed in recent weeks, the Raiders will need a full 80 minute performance against the Broncos to have a chance at causing an upset. With the match live on Channel 9 there's no excuse not to be cheering on our boys.