Five Things: Raiders v Eels

The Canberra Raiders will play the Parramatta Eels at GIO Stadium in the last game of the round on Sunday night and here are five things to look out for!

The Skipper needs Three

Last round against the North Queensland Cowboys, Co-captain Jarrod Croker became the third most capped Raiders player with 234 games under his belt surpassing Simon Woolford on 233.

This week Croker has another chance to break a Raiders record when he looks to overtake Jason Croker for the most tries for the Green Machine. Jarrod currently sits on 117 tries after scoring one last week.

The Co-captain will be looking to score a hat trick this week to tie up with Jason who finished his career with 120 tries.

Three on the Trot

The Raiders will look for a third straight win this week when they meet the Eels on Sunday night. Canberra has won three of their first four in the season and are on a small winning streak after beating the Newcastle Knights and the North Queensland Cowboys in previous weeks.

In 2017, the Raiders had a hat trick of wins twice, beating the Eels, West Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors in the early part of the season and then defeating the Rabbitohs, the Cronulla Sharks and the Warriors in the last half of the season.

Two years later, Canberra will be looking to finish higher on the ladder than in 2017 when they finished the season tenth.

What a difference a year makes

Last season, Canberra and Parramatta faced each other on the 14th of April, the two teams will meet on the same date this season. The Raiders and Eels were both struggling on the bottom of the ladder looking for a win. Canberra ultimately beat Parramatta 18-2.  

However, this season provides something new with the two teams both looking strong in the top eight. The Green Machine currently sit third on the ladder with the Eels close behind on fifth.

Both teams have a winning record of 3-1 and will be seizing the opportunity to bag another two points to move further up the table. 

Leaving Opponents Starving

2019 has seen the Raiders leaving opponents hungry for possession and it has been one of their keys to success for the hot start. Canberra leads the NRL possession with 54% and also lead the league in dummy-half runs with 77.

The Eels sit in the top five of points, tries and goals but are also right behind Canberra with a possession rate of 52% for the season. The Eels are second in the league behind the Melbourne Storm in run metres with 6,821.

Last week, the Raiders completed 32 of 41 of their sets with a 78% completion rate whilst also piling up the running metres with 1594. The team will hope to do the same this week with solid defence against a very strong attack. 

Winger Battle

GIO Stadium will see a battle of wingers this week when ex-Raiders player Blake Ferguson returns to Canberra to face his counterparts Nick Cotric and Jordan Rapana. This time, however, Parramatta will have Fijian sensation Maika Sivo who is making his fifth appearance.

Ferguson scored 36 tries while spending his time in Canberra and is looking dangerous at the start of the season already scoring four tries for his new club whilst also leading the league in run metres with 880.

But Ferguson has no easy task ahead of him when he faces Rapana. The winger scored two tries against the Cowboys last week in his 100th NRL game while also finishing the game a spectacular try assist to Joey Leilua.