The Canberra Raiders will head to Sydney for the first time this season to square off with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Saturday evening.
Perched in seventh on the ladder, the Raiders are eyeing a return to the winners circle to further entrench themselves in the top eight, while a ninth-placed Bulldogs outfit is also looking to bounce back from a loss in search of a return to the top half of the ladder.
The weekend was a matter of both sides coughing up three-game winning streaks, a golden-point penalty goal handing Manly a gripping win over the men in green before the Bulldogs were pipped at the post by an embattled Tigers outfit.
One of the hottest talking points ahead of Saturday’s clash is the power behind both the Raiders’ and Bulldogs’ forward packs, two of the biggest and most metre-hungry cargo ships in the competition.
In an indication of how significant a hand the battle of the forwards will play in Saturday’s clash, a number of Raiders and Bulldogs big men have earned Test selection ahead of the final weekend of action before representative round, while a number of others are expected to be named when the Kiwi and Samoa squads are named on Sunday.
Mal Meninga named forwards Josh Papalii, Shannon Boyd and David Klemmer in a 20-man Kangaroos squad to meet the Kiwis, while Elliott Whitehead, Josh Hodgson and James Graham earned call-ups to an England side set to face Samoa.
There is also a possibility that Junior Paulo will don Samoa colours next week and that Joe Tapine, Sam Kasiano and Greg Eastwood will run out for New Zealand.
A second-half surge catapulted the Raiders to a 32-20 win over the Bulldogs when the two sides last met in Round 12 of last season at GIO Stadium.
Having trailed 14-10 at half-time, the hosts ran in four tries in the second stanza to Canterbury’s one in a game in which Tapine dotted down twice.
The Raiders also emerged victorious when they last crossed swords with the Bulldogs in Sydney, steamrolling Des Hasler’s Dogs 22-8 at Belmore as captain Jarrod Croker crossed for two four-pointers.
The Raiders and Bulldogs will meet at ANZ Stadium on Saturday for the first time since 2011.
Watch highlights from the last time the Raiders and Bulldogs clashed in the video below.