The Raiders are back in Canberra this week for their second home game of 2019 as they host the Newcastle Knights at GIO Stadium on Friday night.
Canberra will be looking for their second win of the season and their seventh against Newcastle in the past ten encounters.
The Raiders will be looking for a hot start to the game after coming off a 22-10 loss to the Melbourne Storm where they were trailing 14-0 in the first half.
The Knights will also be looking for a win after a close 16-14 loss to the Penrith Panthers.
The Green Machine have made multiple changes to the lineup this week with Joe Tapine being ruled out with a thumb injury. The loss means that the versatile John Bateman will move from lock to the second row, leaving Ryan Sutton to make his first start for the club, playing at lock.
The Raiders will also see Hudson Young make his NRL debut coming off the bench.
Coaches' Comment: Stuart previews Knights clash
The Knights defeated the Raiders 28-30 in last year’s only clash between the two sides. With both teams having 14-point heading into the second half the two tries from Elliott Whitehead were not enough for the win.
Raiders v Knights – Round 3
Jack Wighton vs Kalyn Ponga
Two of the bright stars of the new era will face off this week as Jack Wighton will take on the Queenslander, Kalyn Ponga.
The two five-eighths will both be looking to provide their team with a win after both players were moved from the fullback position. Wighton will be once again searching for a strong kicking game after posting over 400 metres in the last two games.
Ponga will be looking to do the same after winning the Danny Buderus medal after a breakout season in 2018.
Jesse Ramien vs Jarrod Croker
The centres will face each other this week with Co-captain Jarrod Croker going up against his opposite in Jesse Ramien.
Veteran Croker will look for his second win for the season as Co-captain after posting 10 points with two tries in last weeks’ loss to the Storm. Ramien will look to stop Croker but also continue on from last week with four line breaks with a total of 94 running metres.
Tim Glasby vs Ryan Sutton
Ryan Sutton will be making his first start for the Raiders against experienced prop Tim Glasby. Sutton joined the Raiders this season after winning the Super League with fellow Englishman John Bateman at the Wigan Warriors.
Glasby will be playing his third game for the Knights after six seasons with the Storm. Both props will be looking to make an impact early with their defense.
“Our first 20 minutes have to be our best and if we can start well and finish well that’s how the game goes” – Ryan Sutton
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Head to Head:
The Raiders and Knights will face each other for the 50th time this week, with Canberra having 27 victories over the Knights with also two draws in the past.