NRL Match Preview Raiders v Bulldogs

Both teams have been inconsistent to start the season and will want to reverse their fortunes ahead of this huge round five clash. 

The Canterbury Bulldogs are coming off a loss to Souths but will take some confidence into the game after the success of their left edge attack of Brett and Josh Morris. Moses Mbye being cleared of a broken jaw is also a huge boost for the club, although the manner in which they lost in the dying stages of the contest would disappoint coach Dean Pay. 

Meanwhile the winless Canberra Raiders were dubbed "soft" by coach Ricky Stuart last week and are desperate to turn their fortunes around.

Canberra Raiders v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 7.50pm Thursday at GIO Stadium

The key match-up: Both forward packs are huge so the battle in the middle will be crucial with both sides missing key players in Aidan Tolman (ankle) and Josh Papalii (dropped).

For the Raiders to win: Fewer penalties late in the tackle count, better decisions in defence along with improved line speed are all needed for Canberra to break through for the win.

For the Bulldogs to win: They'll need to continue the good form of their left edge, most impressively Josh Morris last round, to attack the Raiders out wide.  

Raiders Stat Attack: If Canberra are on the losing end again, it will be the club's worst start to a season since 1982.  

Bulldogs Stat Attack: Canterbury recorded 604 post-contact metres in their round 9 clash with the Raiders last season, the Bulldogs' third highest total for 2017.  

And another thing: Despite Raiders fullback Jack Wighton being named, the impact of the investigation of an alleged nightclub fight in the pre-season remains to be seen on the winless side. 

NRL.com.au prediction: Raiders by 4.

Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Aiden Sezer, 7 Sam Williams, 8 Iosia Soliola, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Junior Paulo, 11 Joseph Tapine, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Luke Bateman.

Interchange: 14 Ata Hingano, 15 Shannon Boyd, 16 Dunamis Lui, 17 Liam Knight

Reserves: 18 Jack Murchie, 19 Michael Oldfild, 20 Blake Austin, 21 Josh Papalii

Josh Papalii is the big-name casualty from the Raiders' poor performance against Manly, dropped to jersey 21 with Liam Knight returning to the 17. Luke Bateman moves to lock and Elliott Whitehead to the second row.

Bulldogs: 1 Moses Mbye, 2 Brett Morris, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Will Hopoate, 5 Marcelo Montoya, 6 Jeremy Marshall-King, 7 Kieran Foran, 8 Aaron Woods, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 David Klemmer, 11 Josh Jackson (c), 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13 Adam Elliott

Interchange: 14 Fa'amanu Brown, 15 Danny Fualalo, 16 Francis Tualalo, 17 Kerrod Holland

Reserves: 18 Greg Eastwood, 19 Asipeli Fine, 20 John Olive, 21 Rhyse Martin

Aiden Tolman is out due to an ankle injury, with Adam Elliott starting at lock and Kerrod Holland joining the bench. 

Head-to-head: Played 65, Bulldogs 37 wins, Raiders 28 wins

Matches at venue: Played 23; Bulldogs 13 wins; Raiders 10 wins

2017 results: Bulldogs won 16-10 in round 9

Points per game: Raiders 22.8; Bulldogs 16.5

Points conceded per game: Raiders 28; Bulldogs 26

Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League