Five Things: Raiders v Storm
With a big clash against the Melbourne Storm looming, here are five things to watch out for this weekend.
The master v the apprentice
Billy Slater will play his 312th match against the Raiders on Saturday night and will directly match-up against Brad Abbey who will be lining up for just his 8th NRL match.
The age difference is 14 years and over 300 more NRL games to split them, this head to head would normally be one that is completely one sided.
However, Brad Abbey has been in solid form over his three games this season and will no doubt be motivated to come up against one of the greats of the game to test himself.
Toughest of them all
The Raiders have played the Storm on 20 occasions in Melbourne and it makes for grim reading for the Canberra side who have their worst win percentage against the Storm.
Canberra have returned home from Melbourne with just the four wins in those matches down south and know that a win is a must on this occasion.
The Raiders have won two of their last five in Melbourne, showing that the ledger has begun to even out and the contest is set to be a cracker on Saturday.
The return of Tapine
For the second time this season, we welcome back Joseph Tapine following a suspension.
A disjointed 2018 season for the Kiwi international who dislocated his thumb in round 1 against the Titans and then spent some more weeks on the sidelines through suspensions.
With six games remaining in the season, expect Tapine to feature heavily and aim to make amends for the time he has missed this year.
Two of the greats
Cameron Smith is arguably the best dummy half let alone the best player in the game at the moment and it shows having played 375 NRL matches over 17 seasons.
Josh Hodgson had his season disrupted when he suffered an ACL injury in last year's World Cup but has returned with a bang laying on four try assists and grabbing one of his own.
Two hookers that control the game very well and whichever captain does this the best on Saturday will more than likely lead their side to the two points.
Great mates face off
They spent a number of seasons playing together at the Canberra Raiders and are great mates off the park but on Saturday that friendship will be put to one side.
They won a premiership together in 1990 as the Raiders beat the Panthers but when it comes to coaching, Craig Bellamy holds the upper hand over Ricky Stuart.
Bellamy's Storm have beaten sides coached by Stuart on 13 occasions of the 18 meetings but Ricky will be out to shake up the finals race with a memorable win over the Storm on Saturday.