The Canberra Raiders will be looking for their fourth straight win when they take on the Parramatta Eels in Darwin for Round 15 of the NRL. Here are five things to look forward to:
It’s going to be a scorcher
The Raiders will be travelling from the freezing cold Canberra weather to the 35-degree heat of Darwin for Saturday’s clash.
This will be the second time that the Raiders and Eels face off in the Northern Territory, with the first being played in 2014.
However, the Raiders will be looking for a different result this time after leading 10-6 at halftime but ultimately losing the game 18-10.
Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton, Josh Papalii, and Jordan Rapana are the only current Raiders to have played in that game, with Croker scoring a try in the loss.
All eyes will be on Raiders Co-captain Jarrod Croker when he steps onto the field at TIO Stadium.
The Green Machine captain is one try away from breaking Jason Croker’s all-time try-scoring record. He equalled the record in the thrilling 22-20 win against the Cronulla Sharks.
Croker will also be making his 245th appearance, placing himself past Raiders legend Laurie Daley for most first grade games and getting one step closer to Jason Croker’s 318.
Return of the Captain
Canberra will welcome back the other half of the Raiders captaincy when Josh Hodgson returns from injury.
The English international has been sidelined since Round 11 after breaking his thumb against the North Queensland Cowboys.
Hodgson provides both an offensive and defensive threat for Canberra, the hooker has six forced drop-outs this season whilst also providing 433 tackles.
Rapana déjà vu
Jordan Rapana will be no stranger to TIO Stadium after the Raiders winger made his debut for the club in Darwin back in 2014 against the Parramatta Eels.
The New Zealand International played only two games in the 2014 season and scored one try for the year.
Rapana has gone on to become a frequent name in the starting lineup, with the winger making his 102nd appearance for the Green Machine, whilst also scoring 65 tries in his Raiders career.
Keeping teams scoreless
Canberra’s intimidating defence will be on show once again when they meet Parramatta for the second time this season.
The Raiders have a habit of keeping teams scoreless this year, with three teams already being left empty-handed when they have faced Ricky Stuart’s side.
The Eels have known this struggle before with the Green Machine defeating Parramatta 19-0 at GIO Stadium in Round 5.