NRL Match Preview: Raiders v Eels

The Canberra Raiders head up to Darwin this weekend hoping to make it four wins in a row as they take on the Parramatta Eels at TIO Stadium.

Canberra will be hoping the return of co-captain Josh Hodgson and NSW centre Jack Wighton can help inspire a fourth win and keep the side in the top four.

The Raiders come into the clash off the back of a gutsy 22-20 win of the Cronulla Sharks, a game which saw the Green Machine lead 20-8 at halftime in very cold conditions.

The Eels also head into the match with a win after beating the Broncos 38-10 in Round 14.

Last Time: The Raiders defeated the Eels 19-0 in Round 5 of this season at GIO Stadium. It was the Canberra Raiders second shut-out of the season, keeping Parramatta scoreless whilst Papalii, Whitehead and Wighton all crossed over for tries.

Game Day Guide: Raiders v Eels

Key Match-Ups

Josh Hodgson v Reed Mahoney

Josh Hodgson makes his long awaited return this weekend up in the Northern Territory, however faces off against Parramatta’s young hooker Reed Mahoney.

Hodgson returns from a broken thumb injury he sustained in round 11 against the Cowboys and will be looking to put in a memorable performance in his return.

The English hooker has been a rock for the Raiders all season, having the second highest tackle count (433) for the club this season despite missing four rounds of football.

Mahoney heads into the clash on a high after scoring a try in his team’s round 14 victory over the Broncos, as well as leading the NRL tackle count (669).

Both hookers will be looking to guide their team in both defence and attack, so expect to see them in the heart of every play.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad v Clinton Gutherson

Two of the competitions most energetic fullbacks will face off against each other this weekend when Charnze Nicoll-Kolkstad takes on Clinton Gutherson.

‘CNK’ has been one of the Raiders best players of the season, scoring five tries and making minimal errors in all the games he’s played.

The Cook Island international also leads the NRL stat count for most kick return metres, with 886m, and all runs with 249 to make a total of 2,343 run metres this season.

Gutherson has also been in good form, with the Eels captain scoring four tries and raking up 2,265 run metres in the competition as well.

It’s going to be an exciting match-up in the middle of the park, with these two red hot fullbacks looking to be in the thick of play this Saturday night.

“If we focus on what we do and who we are going to defend I know we’re going to do a good job… it should be a very exciting match”

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Five Things: Raiders v Eels

Sebastian Kris v Brad Takairangi

Raiders young gun Sebastian Kris will be looking to add to his NRL try scoring account, however will have to go through the experienced Brad Takairangi.

Kris replaces the injured Nick Cotric for the clash this weekend, after making his debut earlier this season, coming off the bench against the Rabbitohs in Round 10.

Kris scored his first NRL try in the Raiders 12-10 win over the Bulldogs, scoring in the corner off a Michael Oldfield knock-back, and will be hoping to create a partnership just as exciting with Jordan Rapana.

Takairangi will also be looking to add to his account, with the Kiwi international crossing over three times this season.

Both centres will be looking to excite the crowd with their speed and their skill this weekend at TIO Stadium.

Head to Head:

The Raiders and Eels have faced off on 60 occasions, with the Raiders having the advantage after taking 31 victories to the Eels 27, with the other two remaining games ending in a draw.