NRL Match Preview: Raiders v Eels

The Raiders will be looking for back to back wins for the first time this season as they welcome the Parramatta Eels to GIO Stadium.

The Raiders have a long turn around after a 26-10 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs on Thursday night in round five to register their first win of the season.

Parramatta travel to Canberra without a win in their first five games after going down 12-6 to the Penrith Panthers in round five.

The Raiders will be without halfback Sam Williams who will miss 4-6 weeks with medial ligament damage suffered against the Bulldogs.

Blake Austin returns to the side in his place after two weeks playing for the Mounties while Josh Papalii and Jack Wighton also return to the side.

The Eels lose enforcer Nathan Brown for the clash but a welcome boost with fullback Clinton Gutherson (ACL) and winger Bevan French (shoulder) returning to enhance their attack.

Last Time: The Raiders ran out 22-16 winners in a tight contest at ANZ Stadium in Round 11, 2017.

The scores were locked at 16 midway through the second half before a try to Jordan Rapana in the final ten minutes grabbed the two points for the Raiders.

Key Matchups

Siliva Havili vs Kaysa Pritchard

Siliva Havili is coming off an almost 80-minute performance due to injuries to other players in round five making 40 tackles along the way in a massive output from the Raiders number nine.

Kaysa Pritchard has had his fair share of injuries and has struggled to put games together having played only 41 NRL games over the past five seasons and the start of this season.

Both players have contrasting styler with Havili providing good service from dummy half while Pritchard is a livewire darting out and catching markers napping.

Aidan Sezer vs Mitchell Moses

Coach Ricky Stuart labelled Aidan Sezer’s performance against the Bulldogs as his best for the club as he steered his side to victory with a kicking masterclass.

Mitchell Moses himself would say he has had a tough time to start the season after being sin binned in both rounds one and two and not having the impact he has become known for.

Sezer’s controls of the game as well as Moses’ flamboyant attack sees two different halfbacks taking the field on Saturday with points to be the order of the day.

Elliott Whitehead vs Manu Ma’u

‘Mr Versatile’ is the new nickname being thrown around when speaking about Elliott Whitehead after he played in the back row, centres and even spent time in the halves in round five.

Manu Ma’u is a traditional back rower who runs the ball hard and can run a good line of his half. Ma’u hasn’t been as damaging this year as to previous years but will be looking for a big one against the English international.

Both players featured for their country in the Rugby League World Cup in 2017 and will be keen to get one up on their opponent.

Quote of the Week:

Head to Head

There have been 56 meetings between the two clubs with the Raiders holding a slight edge with 29 victories while the Eels have been successful on 27 occasions.