NRL Match Preview: Raiders v Warriors

After a pair of heartbreaking defeats, the Raiders will be looking to finally secure their first win of the 2018 season when they take on the undefeated Warriors at GIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon.  

The Raiders were beaten by a Mitchell Pearce-inspired Newcastle last week, losing 30-28 for the second straight game.

Meanwhile the Warriors’ win over the Titans ensured they remain unbeaten after two rounds and sit second on the ladder.

Charlie Gubb will miss the clash with a groin injury, with Liam Knight set to replace him and make his club debut. Joey Leilua has been named in the side despite leaving the field last week with an ankle injury.

Aiden Sezer is set to make his first start of the season, with Blake Austin being moved to the bench.

The Warriors have brought in Leivaha Pulu to cover for Isaiah Papali’i, who will miss the next six weeks with a knee injury.

The Raiders will be looking to bounce back from two close losses and can take plenty of confidence from their great record against the Warriors in Canberra, winning 12 of the 16 clashes.  

Last Time: The Raiders won comfortably when these two met at Mt Smart Stadium in Round 23 last year. Cotric scored two of the Raiders’ six tries in their 36-16 win.

Key Matchups

Aiden Sezer vs Blake Green

Aiden Sezer is set to make his first start in the halves this week, after spending the last two weeks coming off the bench. He has the opportunity this week to put his stamp on the game from the opening whistle.

He comes up against Blake Green, one of the most consistent halves in the game. Green brings direction to the Warriors’ famously erratic attack and he will no doubt be looking to steer his side around the park again on Saturday.   

There is plenty of flair in both line ups, but these two bring the level heads that can be vital in ensuring their sides’ success.

Jordan Rapana vs David Fusitu’a

Jordan Rapana opened his 2018 try scoring account last week with the type of one-handed putdown he has become known for. He also put Elliot Whitehead over with an arguably even more acrobatic effort when he leapt over Nathan Ross to catch a Sam Williams kick and threw the ball back into the field of play in one motion.

David Fusitu’a has got his 2018 season off to the perfect start, crossing for a double in each of his first two games.

With these two try scorers on the field there should be plenty of crossing of the white stripe this Saturday.  

Junior Paulo vs Agnatius Paasi

With two big forward packs going head-to-head this week the bench will have a huge role to play.

Junior Paulo has made a solid start to the season and has the ability to really keep the momentum going when he comes onto the field.

Agnatius Paasi will be looking to do the same when he comes on for his first appearance for the Warriors since 2014.  

Quote of the Week: “Pressure comes from within down here and we know what we need to do to get ourselves back in the winners’ circle.” -Aiden Sezer.

Head to Head: In their 38 previous meetings the Raiders have won 21 times and the Warriors 17.