Here are the five biggest talking points ahead of the Raiders must win clash with the Cronulla Sharks on Saturday.
1. Winning on the Road
Most teams struggle to win on the road but that’s not the case when the Raiders play the Sharks. Dating back to 2013, the last eight times the two teams have played each other the away team has won the match. This spells good news for the Raiders who will be hoping the record stays intact when they travel down to Shark Park this weekend. The last five times the Sharks have travelled to GIO Stadium they have left victorious while the Raiders have won their past three matches at Southern Cross Stadium.
2. Croker’s Record
Jarrod Croker looks set to break yet another club record if he crosses over for a try this weekend. Following his four pointer last week, Croker sits on 105 tries for the Green Machine just one shy of becoming the second highest try scorer in the Raiders history. Brett Mullins currently holds second place with 105 tries over the fullback’s career just behind club legend Jason Croker who scored 120 tries in his time in green. If Croker can find his way over the try line this weekend it will be another record next to his name in the Raiders history books as he slowly closes in on Jason Crokers record.
3. Papalii and Rapana Return
In a big boost for the Raiders, they welcome back test stars Josh Papalii and Jordan Rapana after they both spent time on the sidelines for suspensions. Papalii has led from the front all season with his barnstorming hit-ups and strong defence and will come back into a Raiders forward pack which dominated the Rabbitohs last week. Rapana has been one of the Raiders shining lights this season and his uncanny ability to find the try line will be warmly welcomed by Ricky Stuart.
4. Must win
As it is every week from here on in, the Raiders must win if they are to keep their dim finals hopes alive. The Raiders currently sit in 10th place on the NRL ladder and need to knock off last year’s premiers if they are any chance of making the eight. After getting an important win last week the Raiders will be hoping to replicate their finals charge last year and fight their way into finals footy.
5. Rapana’s Try Scoring Streak
Jordan Rapana has fond memories of playing the Sharks with the electrifying winger scoring a try in the last four matches against Cronulla. Returning from suspension Rapana will be ready to fire and make up for lost time as he attempts to keep his try scoring streak against the Sharks alive. The Kiwi international even bagged a double in an important clash last year and with the stakes even higher this time around Rapana will he hoping for another try scoring spree.