The Canberra Raiders NYC team starts their finals campaign against the Sydney Roosters on Saturday afternoon at GIO Stadium
After finishing the season in eighth place, Brett White’s team knows that only a win will allow them to progress to the semi-finals. The Roosters finished in fifth place, however, they have only won one of their past five games.
It was the Tricolours who prevailed 32-22 when the teams clashed in Round Two this year, but the Raiders have been one of the form teams of the NYC in the second half of the season.
In their last ten matches, the Raiders have lost only once. The team showed plenty of fight last weekend to almost pull of a stunning comeback against the Wests Tigers, before eventually sharing the points in a 28 all draw. The Roosters also drew last weekend against the Broncos, a result which saw them miss out on making the Top Four.
The Raiders welcome back Seb Kris, Zac Woolford and Nick Cotric on Saturday, after the trio missed last week’s game against the Tigers.
In a boost for the Raiders, Roosters halfback Jackson Hastings has been ruled ineligible for finals due to his involvement in the NRL side.
Watch out Roosters: Nick Cotric has been a constant threat on the Raiders' right edge and will be at the heart of their attacking raids on Saturday afternoon. The youngster scored seven tries, had 11 assists and a staggering 130 tackle breaks from 20 matches this season. Roosters centre Jarred Anderson could be in for a long day as he tries to stop the Holden Cup Team of the Year member.
Watch out Raiders: NRL fans who caught a glimpse of Nat Butcher in Round 26 against the Broncos will know he's a star in the making. The recently crowned Arthur Beetson medallist for the Roosters NYC Player of the Year was also named in the Holden Cup Team of the Year and could explode this finals series. Butcher finished the year with the third-most metres in the competition (3,690) despite only playing 20 games, while he also made the fourth-most tackles (854).
Kick-off is at 2.55pm on Saturday at GIO Stadium, with gates opening at 2.45pm. If you can't make it to the game the match is live on Fox Sports Channel 501 and updates will also be on the Raiders Twitter.