The green machine take on the team occupying top spot on the NRL ladder for a second consecutive week on Monday night, buoyed by a dazzling victory over the Cronulla Sharks last weekend.
Read on for the five things we can't wait to see as the Raiders host the Melbourne Storm in the match of the round.
Test against the best…again
Last weekend the Raiders played and dethroned the ladder-leading Sharks. This week they play the new competition leaders in a Monday night blockbuster for the ages.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart labelled the Storm the 'benchmark' of the competition after the victory over the Sharks, and another test against the best is just what the Raiders need one month out from the finals.
Top scorers face-off
Three of the players currently in the top four try-scorers in the competition will take the field on Monday night. Melbourne rookie sensation Suliasi Vunivalu currently leads the count with 17 tries, with Raiders duo Jarrod Croker and Jordan Rapana sitting in third and fourth with 15 tries apiece.
Vunivalu and Rapana both play of the right side of the field, which will unfortunately mean they won’t be going head-to-head on Monday. Instead Rapana will line up against the Storms other Fijian flyer, Marika Koroibete. Expect plenty of fireworks and tries aplenty on both wings on Monday night!
Match-up of the year
The battle of the number 9’s on Monday night is one of the most eagerly awaited match-ups of the year.
Hodgson versus Smith has all the makings of a classic, with both in tremendous form last weekend. Hodgson led the Raiders to victory over the Sharks with a dominant man of the match display, while Smith was clutch for the Storm in their golden point victory over the Rabbitohs.
The duo were both near the top of the Dally M voting before it went behind closed doors, and whoever comes up trumps on Monday night could be in with a good shot at claiming Rugby League's highest individual accolade later in the year.
Attack v Defence
What happens when the best attacking team in the competition comes up against the best defence…? We’re going to find out on Monday!
Bellamy’s ‘Purple Wall’ have conceded just 230 points so far in 2016, at an average of slightly over 11 points a game. Despite defensive improvements in the second-half of the season, the Raiders concede almost 8 more points a game than the Storm.
The Raiders outscore the Storm by just over three points a game, racking up 542 points so far this season. It sure is interesting to see how this one plays out on Monday night.
Seven more to go
Point-scoring wizard Jarrod Croker needs just seven more points to beat his best ever season points haul of 236 recorded last night.
Having scored 60 points in his last four matches, besting Clinton Schifcofske’s club record of 245 points in a season appears to be a formality for Croker with four games plus finals remaining. Stay tuned for more records from our captain!
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