Raiders ready for Trbojevic Origin audition
Raiders captain Jarrod Croker said he expects Manly star Tom Trbojevic to use GIO Stadium as his stage to make one final pitch to NSW selectors for a spot in the Blues side.
Manly have enjoyed the edge over the Raiders in recent seasons, having won nine of their past 12 games.
While two of those victories were in golden point, much of the Sydney northern beaches team's success can be attributed to Tom and Jake Trbojevic.
Croker said the side would love to try to shut the pair down, especially Tom, who the Canberra captain expects will try to replicate his damaging performance against the Raiders in the 32-16 round four win.
"I'm not sure who they are going to pick there, it's out of him and [James] Tedesco so he is going to be a hand full tomorrow night," Croker said of Tom Trbojevic.
"He will be looking to put his best foot forward for that Blue jersey, but we'll be up for the challenge."
Canberra will be seeking to avoid a third straight loss that would put them six points outside the top-eight at the halfway mark of the Telstra Premiership.
To do that, the Raiders will have to put aside any mental demons still lingering from their drubbing at the hands of the Sea Eagles back in round four, which prompted coach Ricky Stuart to call his players 'soft'.
Croker said the side had a blueprint for victory, with sustained line-speed critical to stopping the likes of Marty Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake.
"They're both very powerful players, Marty Taupau generally offloads the ball wherever he wants, it doesn't matter where on the field he is," Croker said.
"It's a good set-up play for them and it's almost like they know it's coming and they shift straight away. So we've talked about controlling that because we know they get a lot of momentum off the back of that.
"It's a big job for our forwards. I know Dunamis (Lui) is excited about starting so it's a good chance for him to put his best foot forward against Marty who's probably been one of the form front-rowers."
Croker said Lui's promotion to the starting side was just reward for the 28-year-old having bounced back well from his ACL injury last season. Lui is also playing one of his old clubs.
"To be honest it surprised me a bit, coming back from an ACL I wasn't sure how'd react and how he would bounce back.
"But he's been a silent achiever for us off the bench and been one of our most consistent so I'm really excited for him to get his chance to start."
Helping Canberra's chances of earning a much-needed victory is their strike rate when playing at home during their 'Old Boys' weekend.
"The guys make the effort to get down here and it shows they enjoy what we do for the club and how we play our footy and how much they love the club," Croker said.
"Not only that it lifts our boys, so it's a really good night and a good weekend, so they will lift the boys when we run out onto the field and give us an extra little kick."