The Canberra Raiders return to the capital this weekend full of confidence when they face top of the table rivals the Parramatta Eels at GIO Stadium on Sunday night.
Canberra have an impressive record against Parramatta that they’ll want to expand on, having won ten in the past twelve matches between the two sides.
The Raiders will be hoping to continue their brilliant start to their 2019 campaign after last week’s win up in Townsville after they defeated the Cowboys 30-12.
The Eels come to the nation’s capital off the back of a gruelling 24-12 win over the Cronulla Sharks in Sydney.
Canberra have made one change to the side, with Joe Tapine named to return from a thumb injury sustained in round two, replacing Corey Horsburgh on the bench.
Last Time: The Raiders defeated the Eels 18-2 in last year’s only clash between the two sides at GIO Stadium. The Green Machine kept the Eels scoreless in the second half, with it being just their second win of the season.
Raiders v Eels - Round 5
Josh Papalii v Junior Paulo
The two hard hitting props will go head to head in what will be a fierce fight between in-form Josh Papalii and Junior Paulo, his first match against his old side.
Papalii will be hoping to continue his dominant form after registering 44 post contact metres from 100 metres in total last week against the Cowboys.
The 2018 Meninga Medallist scored in last year’s match-up between the two sides, and will be looking for the same sort of performance from his side.
Paulo returns to back Canberra after spending the past three seasons at the club, and will be looking to make a massive impact for the Eels as he retains his place in their starting side.
Expect both props to be heavily involved in the centre of the park, both on and off the ball.
Sam Williams v Mitchell Moses
It’ll be an important match for the two halfbacks, as both Sam Williams and Mitchell Moses will be wanting to inspire their teams to victory.
Williams has been rock solid after replacing the injured Aidan Sezer in round three and will hope to continue his string of impressive performances going in 2019.
The halfback has been important in the two games he’s played for the Green Machine this season, being involved in two tries and scoring a field goal in both wins for the team.
Moses will enter the clash on a fine kicking form, with the Lebanese international scoring all thirteen of his past goal attempts, with a kick accuracy of 88.24%.
Both players will be looking to be game changers in both their sides performances and will be hoping for the best possible outcome.
Nick Cotric v Blake Ferguson
It’ll be a massive battle out on the wing this weekend as young gun Nick Cotric comes up against former Raider Blake Ferguson.
Cotric will be hoping to get his second try of the season after scoring his first try last week in the Raiders win up in Townsville.
The 2017 Dally M Rookie of the Year will look to continue his fine form against the Eels, scoring twice and winning all three games against the side that he’s played in.
Ferguson will enter the clash with his new side hoping to reclaim the form he had last year, which saw him score 18 tries and named in the 2018 Dally M side of the year.
Both wingers will be desperate on getting the ball and will be monumental in both their side’s performances on Sunday night.
“Everyone’s always upbeat and training hard… it’s just doing the little things right and it’s coming together. Hopefully we keep going at it and keep winning from here” - Nick Cotric
Head to Head:
The Raiders and Eels have faced off on 59 occasions, with the Raiders having the advantage after taking 30 victories to the Eels 27, with the other two remaining games ending in a draw.