Five Things: Raiders v Sharks
Saturday shapes up as a pivotal moment in the Raiders season to date, when they take on the current table-topping Cronulla Sharks in a blockbuster at Southern Cross Stadium.
Read on for the five things we can't wait to see as the Raiders aim to show how serious their premiership ambitions are against the high-flying Sharks.
The Sharks 15 game winning streak came to an end on Monday night when a gutsy Titans outfit held them an electrifying golden-point draw.
While the winning streak is over, the Raiders will still have a golden chance to break the Sharks undefeated streak. How the Sharks recover in just five days from Monday's physical battle will be a key factor on Saturday.
There's no better test than a test against the best, and the Raiders will be out to show just how much they have improved against the Sharks on Saturday.
Southern Cross Stadium has quickly become a fortress for the Sharks this year, with the current competition leaders maintaining a perfect 10-0 home record so far. A crowd of almost 20,000 is expected to be there on Saturday for the match of the round, and the Raiders can expect plenty of hostility from the passionate Sharks fans.
The good news? The away supporters bay at the ground has sold out so there’s going to be plenty green machine fanatics cheering on the boys. Also playing into the Raiders favour is the fact that they have won their past two matches at Southern Cross Stadium.
Wighton bagged two tries last time we played the Sharks at Southern Cross Stadium
Papa v Gal
Josh Papalii and Sharks skipper Paul Gallen have history that stretches back many years to when the young Raiders enforcer was making his stamp on the game. It was 2012 and in the aftermath of a convincing Raiders victory over the Sharks, Gallen lit the fuse by accusing Papalii of a 'dog shot'.
Since then the pair have clashed numerous times, in often spiteful club and Origin encounters.
All eyes will be on the duo on Saturday when they lace up the boots and face each other. Don't miss out on seeing this.
A tidy 18 point tally last weekend leaves Jarrod Croker just 20 points behind his best ever season haul, and just 29 points behind Clinton Schifcofske’s club record of 245 points in a season.
Croker is also just five tries away from cracking the magical 100 try barrier, which will place Jason Croker (120) in his sights as the club’s leading try-scorer.
The records might not tumble this weekend, but stay tuned in the coming weeks as Croker continues to rewrite the record books at the tender age of 25.
Currently the most penalised team in the competition, it’s no secret that the Sharks will be out to frustrate and aggravate the Raiders to get an upper-hand on Saturday.
The Sharks have three of the top five most penalised players in Mick Ennis, James Maloney and Andrew Fifita. Those who watched Monday night’s thriller between the Sharks and Titans know just how damaging and aggressive Fifita can be, making it extra important that the Raiders are able to contain him.
Keeping cool and not letting the Sharks gain the mental and physical edge on Saturday will go a long in turning the result in the Raiders favour.
Are you heading up to the game on Saturday? What else are you looking forward to seeing? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know!