Five Things: Raiders v Storm
With Saturday's match against the Storm looming, here are the five things we are most excited about this weekend:
1. Preliminary Final Rematch
The Storm were the final hurdle for the Raiders last season as they attempted to reach the Grand Final. Unfortunately, the Storm were too good in the Victorian capital as they claimed a two point win to break the hearts of Raiders fans.
In the first clash against the Storm since that loss, the Raiders will be out to back up their encouraging win against the Dragons with a similar effort against the top of the table side.
2. The Coal Train
After an injury riddled start to the season, Dave Taylor showed just what he is capable of with a massive performance from the bench.
Although his match winning offload for Elliott Whitehead grabbed all the headlines, the Coal Train gave the Raiders plenty of energy in attack with 105 meters from only ten runs as he punched holes through the Dragons defensive line at will.
With Josh Papalii missing the match due to suspension, the Raiders will be looking for another big performance from Taylor.
3. Stuart v Bellamy
Having played together for four years and having won two premierships together for the Raiders, Ricky Stuart and Craig Bellamy have both gone on to have plenty of success as coaches of their respective teams.
Desperate to see their club succeed, Stuart and Bellamy will be working hard to ensure victory is theirs because this is more than just an ordinary game. Not only are two competition points on the line, beer is on the line.
In previous matches between the two mates, the losing coach will always take a beer into the opposition sheds at fulltime. The last time this fixture was held at GIO Stadium it was Bellamy who was in the Raiders’ shed so let’s hope to see him in the shed again on Saturday night.
4. Big men battle
If you aren’t at GIO Stadium on Saturday night and hear loud thunderclaps, don’t be afraid. It is likely that you have just heard Junior Paulo running into Melbourne’s Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
The two packs boasted by the Raiders and Storm are not only massive but possess plenty of skill with the ball in hand, in what is sure to be an intriguing and crucial battle on Saturday night.
With the trio of Shannon Boyd, Paulo and Taylor up against Jesse Bromwich, Jordan McLean and Asofa-Solomona, the total weight of the six men exceeds 700kg.
5. Shutting Down Storm Trio
The Raiders have a big task ahead of them as they attempt to stop Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk this weekend.
Although the Raiders need to be at their best, they have managed to do this before as the Raiders won this corresponding fixture last year 22-8, albeit without Slater available for Melbourne.
For rugby league fans, this is a great opportunity to see Queensland’s Origin heroes step onto GIO Stadium as the Raiders look to shut them down.