From the Stands: Round 20

There are a couple of advantages to a bye round. Players get to rest, there’s a guaranteed two competition points, and… well that’s about it.

Thank goodness that’s over! Bye rounds feel a little like the first weekend after the Grand Final.

Sure you can find some sport to watch but it’s just not the same. Without the Raiders, the NRL just isn’t the NRL.  

Despair no more because the men in green are back! And what a game to launch straight in to?!

This Saturday’s game against the Warriors has plenty of promise. It’s 5th vs 8th on the table but the mathematical interest doesn’t stop there.

A win would rocket our boys into the top 4 but a loss could see us drop to 6th.

It’s the difference between putting ourselves in the position of having an extra life in the post season or being forced into a do or die contest.

A win would also provide some valuable momentum into what is a well discussed rocky part of the season for the Raiders. There are some tough contests coming.

So just how winnable is this weekend’s contest? Very, but it won’t come easy.

The Warriors are the absolute Jekyll and Hyde of the NRL in 2016. One week they’re electric and look unstoppable, the next they look like cellar dwellers.

You just don’t know which team is going to show up. With plenty to play for however, the Raiders should expect the good version of the Warriors.

The version that brings with it a big, strong, rolling forward pack and a backline with speed and talent to burn.

Not to mention, the elusive Shaun Johnson who generally seems to enjoy his time against our men in green.

Make no mistake, this week requires our boys to bring their A game.

The good news is though, our A game is better than their A game.

When our forwards are rolling and our backline gets quality ball with room to play, there aren’t many defensive lines that can shut us down. Certainly not the one from across the ditch.

The start of this game will be massive in determining the outcome.

A good, confident start will ensure the mighty Raiders go a long way towards collecting the two points and a top 4 position.

A slow start from our boys and it could be the Warriors who suddenly remember the kind of footy they have in them. We can’t have that happen.

So get down to GIO Stadium on Saturday and do your best to get the mighty green machine home.

There’s nothing better than a big, vocal Raiders home crowd. It’s got a great feel and the players always respond in kind.

It’s time to turn Canberra into a fortress for the pointy end of the NRL season. Come on boys!

SEE ALL THE KEY STATS, QUOTES AND MATCH-UPS IN THE PREVIEW FOR RAIDERS V WARRIORS