The Raiders passed another test with flying colours last week against Parramatta but you can be sure that Sunday's home clash with the struggling Broncos will have a wary Ricky Stuart warning his team to stay on top of their game.
The Raiders' assured performance against the Eels buried any lingering doubt that they're the real deal and they should take loads of confidence into their meeting with the slumping Broncos.
Brisbane have been scrutinised, analysed and criticised, but that comes with the territory when you're losing games in a one-team town, despite having a star-studded roster and the coach you wanted.
Anthony Seibold is doing his best to keep a lid on the simmering frustration but it might soon boil over if they don't start winning.
Raiders: Canberra will start 1-17, with Jack Murchie and Bailey Simonsson the two men dropped from the squad an hour before kick-off. Injured back-rower Joe Tapine has been replaced on the bench by Junior Collins. Aidan Sezer and Corey Horsburgh were cut from the reserves on Saturday.
Broncos: In changes made an hour before kick-off, Thomas Flegler (No.16) will start at lock with David Fifita dropping back to the bench. James Roberts (No.20) will start on the interchange bench with Gehamat Shibasaki joining Shaun Fenson as the two players omitted 60 minutes before game time.
The obvious area is the halves battle, with the Broncos needing Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima to out-play Jack Wighton and Sam Williams. But it's through the middle where the Raiders are still strong and someone for Brisbane is going to have to take it upon himself to shut down powerful prop Josh Papalii.
For the Raiders to win
Papalii needs to maintain his outstanding form and Stuart will be counting on his English backrowers to continue their good work in the middle and on the fringes. If they defend as well as they did last week, the Raiders should have too much confidence and skill in attack for the Broncos to handle.
For the Broncos to win
There are a few areas the Broncos need to fix and it all starts with their under-siege halves Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima. No-one questions their respective talents, but the Broncos need them to take charge when the game is on the line. Both need big games to silence their growing legion of critics.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Raiders are flying. The mobile Englishmen are creating a great style of play for Ricky Stuart. They’ve got everything across the park. Jack Wighton hasn’t had to do a lot, that has helped him to settle in to five-eighth. The Broncos leak a lot of metres, they’ve got no game management and they look out of sorts. They need a game management halfback. They look a little unhappy at the moment. Raiders by 12
Raiders Stat Attack
The talk around Jack Wighton's much-publicised move to five-eighth has died down as the Raiders continue to impress, but Ricky Stuart would love to see him cut down the mistakes. Wighton leads the NRL in errors (8) and negative plays (12). By holding Parra to nil on Sunday the Raiders are conceding an NRL-low average of 8.8 points per game.
Broncos Stat Attack
Andrew McCullogh has made the most tackles in the NRL (239) but Matt Gillett (17) and Jack Bird (15) are ranked one and two for ineffective tackles. As a team the Broncos have a league-high 113 ineffective tackles.
And another thing ...
Those who questioned Ricky Stuart's desire for four Englishmen on his playing roster aren't saying much now. The Raiders have won four of five - their only loss was to Melbourne - and the UK quartet has been instrumental in Canberra's flying start to the season. John Bateman and Josh Hodgson are early Dally M contenders, while Ryan Sutton gets better each week and Elliott Whitehead has been typically consistent.