As the Raiders prepare to take on the Panthers in Bathurst this Saturday, we take a look at five reasons why you wouldn’t want to miss the match.
A Growling Panther
The Panthers are coming into this Saturday’s clash against the Raiders full of spring in their step. A 38 point thrashing of Canterbury on Sunday contributed to their third win on the trot as they chase a fourth straight win against Canberra.
The return of Josh Mansour for the Panthers has certainly given them an extra tooth, as the winger made 212 metres with the ball against the Bulldogs as well as making 7 tackle breaks and scoring the last try.
The win on Sunday for the Panthers put them one place behind Canberra on the ladder and just one win potentially outside of the top eight. This Saturday’s clash will be a blockbuster as a very in form Panther will be hunted by quite a wounded Raider.
Return to the Country
This Saturday’s clash will be played at Carrington Park in Bathurst. For a few key Raiders players, this could be the extra gear that propels Canberra to a much needed victory.
Captain Jarrod Croker played his junior footy in Goulburn, forward Shannon Boyd in Cowra, fullback Jack Wighton in Orange and Adam Clydesdale in Scone. These players will be relishing the chance to play such an important game in the country, where they excelled as local juniors.
A trip down memory lane as a junior for these four players might provide the leg up they need to get the Raiders over the line.
Last time they met
The last time the two sides met was in an elimination final last season at GIO Stadium. The Raiders got the better of the Panthers 22-12 in that clash and as a reward earnt a spot in a preliminary final in Melbourne.
For both sides, not a lot has changed since then in terms of starting line ups. Edrick Lee and Paul Vaughan are the only missing players since then for Canberra, whilst for the Panthers their team remains relatively the same.
We go back in time a little further before that elimination final when the two sides faced off in Bathurst in round nine last year. The Panthers won that match 19-18 in what was a controversial game. There is no doubt that a little rivalry is brewing between the sides, so expect to see a grinding physical game on Saturday.