The Canberra Raiders head into their Thursday night clash in red-hot form when they host the Cronulla Sharks at GIO Stadium.
Canberra will be looking to cement their place in the top 4 and continue their dominant performances in 2019, yet will have to overcome an energetic Cronulla side to do so.
The Raiders come into the clash off the back of their third shutout of the season, defeating the Tigers comfortably 28-0.
The Sharks also head into the game with a win under their belt, beating the Eels 42-22 in Round 13.
Last Time: The Sharks defeated the Raiders 28-24 in last year’s round 19 clash between the sides at Pointsbet Stadium. The Raiders were down 22-6 at halftime, whilst a double to Joey Leilua sparked hope back into the Green Machine it wasn’t enough to complete a comeback.
Nick Cotric v Bronson Xerri
Nick Cotric will be hoping to continue his dominant performances in his new position and will come up against fellow young gun Bronson Xerri.
Cotric has impressed after moving from wing to centre to replace the injured Joey Leilua, slotting in perfectly next to winger Jordan Rapana.
Coming off the back of his NSW Blues debut last Wednesday night, Cotric got himself a try assist against the Tigers after a lovely soccer-like grubber kick into the in goal was grounded by Rapana.
Xerri has also continued to impress in his debut season for the Sharks after scoring seven tries in his nine appearances, including a double last weekend against the Eels.
Both the young centres will be hoping to excite the crowd and be influential with the ball this Thursday night.
Elliot Whitehead v Briton Nikora
A massive battle will be brewing in the forwards as Raiders big Englishman Elliot Whitehead faces up against young Kiwi Briton Nikora.
Whitehead has been instrumental in the Raiders forward line this season, making a whopping 467 tackles and playing in every game this season.
The Englishman got a try assist last weekend against the Tigers as well in unusual fashion, delicately kicking a loose ball perfectly into Bailey Simonsson’s hands for him to score for the opener.
Nikora is another Sharks debutant this season and has been a solid player for the away side, scoring three times this season.
Both forwards will be looking to be in the thick of play this Thursday and will be very influential with every touch of the ball they get.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad v Matt Moylan
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad will be looking to continue his impressive form for the Raiders, yet will have to do a lot of work against his opposite number in Matt Moylan.
CNK has scored five tries in his first season as a Raider and has wowed fans with his continued dedication in both attack and defence.
The Kiwi leads the NRL count in running metres (2,263), kick return metres (844) as well as making the most runs in the NRL with a total of 241.
Moylan returns to the Sharks side after sustaining a hamstring injury in round 3, however, was influential in their 42-22 victory against the Eels last weekend.
It’ll be an incredible match-up in the fullback position, with both players aiming to be in control both on and off the ball in the hope of inspiring their teams to victory this Thursday night at GIO Stadium.
Head to Head: The Raiders and Sharks have met on 76 occasions, with Canberra winning 33 games compared to Cronulla’s 41, with the other two remaining matches ending in draws.