Match Preview: Raiders v Eels
The Raiders will look to lock in a top four placing and continue their seven game winning-streak when they face the Eels at GIO Stadium this Sunday.
Putting on one of their best defensive displays in recent times, the Raiders out-wrestled the first-placed Melbourne Storm, winning 22-8 to assert themselves as genuine premiership contenders.
But the Raiders will have to be ready for a round 24 ambush as the Eels seek to salvage what is left of their troubled season.
The Eels trounced the Raiders 36-6 in their round five clash, and forward Joe Tapine says his side will still have to bring their A-game to come away with the win on Sunday.
"No NRL team should be taken lightly. I reckon teams come out and play some good footy when they've got nothing to lose,” Tapine said.
“It was a tough game that game, but we've learnt a lot since then so it's going to be a good game this weekend.”
The embattled Eels have scoring potential around the park on the back of stars Michael Jennings and Semi Radradra, so the Raiders will need to replicate another stand-out defensive performance to hold the Parramatta side out.
Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson has put his team in front of personal glory by pleading a no contest for his Monday night grapple tackle on Jesse Bromwich. Hodgson will miss one game and be docked three Dally M votes but will not incur any penalty points, meaning he will be safe to contribute to the Raiders’ premiership charge.
Replacement hooker Kurt Baptiste praised Hodgson’s selfless act and maintained how he is central to their premiership campaign.
“[On Hodgson taking the no contest] It shows he's put the team first over his individual accolade that he could get at the end of the year,” Baptiste said.
“We need him come finals time and if he had those carry-over points he only has to slip up once and he'd be gone.
“We need him for finals so it's a smart move and it's a great show compassion for the team from Josh.”
The Raiders will field the same team as last week with the exceptional of Adam Clydsdale coming into the squad in place of the suspended Josh Hodgson.
Eels stars Semi Radradra and Beau Scott return to the side from injury, whilst Manu Ma’u will keep his spot in the centres with Brad Takairangi being ruled out.
Watch highlights from Raiders v Eels in Round 6 in the video below.