Match Preview: Raiders v Storm
The Raiders and Storm are both shooting for seven straight victories when they come face-to-face at GIO Stadium on Monday night in the match of the round.
With four weeks remaining before the finals series starts, Monday night will be the Raiders last match against a top-eight side in the regular season.
The Storm, currently sitting on top of the ladder, will be the perfect test for the Raiders who proved their premiership credentials last Saturday in defeating the Sharks.
Raiders captain Jarrod Croker has been in career-best form of late, having scored 60 points in his last four matches. Croker needs just six more points to equal his best ever points haul for a season, and 15 more to equal Clinton Schifcofske’s club record of 245 points in a season.
Croker is excited at the prospect of taking on another benchmarks team in the competition.
“It’s a massive test. Along with Cronulla, the Storm are the benchmark of the competition. They keep on finding ways to win and have some really quality players,” Croker said.
“The Storm are so consistent. They are a high quality side and we will have to be better than what we were last week.
“We’ve taken a bit of confidence out of beating Cronulla last weekend. There’s still plenty for us to work on and we aren’t looking further ahead than this week.”
The Raiders will be sweating on the fitness of Blake Austin for the match. Austin left the field with a minor shoulder complaint in the second-half of the Raiders win over the Sharks. The long turnaround to the Monday night game will benefit Austin, who will have to prove his fitness later in the week.
The Storm’s form has been up and down in the past month, showing off in strong victories over the Broncos and Cowboys, while being pushed all the way by the Knights and Rabbitohs.
A win on Monday night could entrench the Raiders position inside the top four, which could be further helped if the Sea Eagles and Roosters can pull off upsets against the Bulldogs and Cowboys.
Ricky Stuart has named an unchanged team for the clash. Blake Austin will have to prove his fitness later in the week after picking up a minor shoulder injury during the win over the Sharks.
The Storm are unchanged from the side that defeated the Rabbitohs in golden point last weekend.
Highlights from the last time the Raiders met the Storm in Round 6, 2015