Five Things: Raiders v Panthers
There's no more second chances on Saturday night when the Raiders face the red-hot Penrith Panthers at GIO Stadium.
A win will see the Green Machine through to the preliminary final to face the Melbourne Storm in Melbourne, while a loss will bring the Raiders season to an end.
Read on for the five things we can't wait to see as a bumper crowd fills GIO Stadium again for a contest between two of the NRL's most exciting sides.
Do or Die
We’ve reached the part of the season where every game is a must win.
The Raiders ten match winning streak to finish the season earnt them a double chance in the finals. After last weekend’s loss to the Sharks, the side will need to triumph over the Panthers to keep their premiership hopes alive.
If the Raiders cannot muster a win over the surging Panthers on Saturday, then it's all over red rover for the Raiders in 2016.
Both Blake Austin and Josh Hodgson have been named to play against the Panthers, but question marks remain as to whether they will in fact be fit to play.
Austin missed the side’s qualifying final against the Sharks with a hand injury, but a quick recovery could see Austin return to the field on Saturday much sooner than expected. If Austin does play, his ability to find something from nothing will be invaluable against the unpredictable Panthers.
Hodgson appears less likely to take the field on Saturday, after discussing his injury to the media yesterday and rating his chances of playing as 'slim'.
The Raiders final team for the match will be named at 6.40pm on Saturday, stay tuned to raiders.com.au for the most eagerly anticipated team list of the year.
Start to Finish
The Raiders started their season against the Panthers at GIO Stadium, and this weekend one of the teams will fittingly conclude their season at the same venue.
In the Round One clash, the Raiders edged out Penrith with a second half surge, scoring 14 points in the last 25 minutes to take the game 30-22.
This weekend’s semi-final looks set to be another tight encounter, with the Raiders coming off a heartbreaking 14-16 loss, whilst the Panthers rolled to a 28-12 win over the Bulldogs.
Watch highlights from the Raiders 30-22 victory over the Panthers in Round One in the video below.