The Canberra Raiders will head to Auckland for Round 20 when they face the New Zealand Warriors. Here are five things to look forward to:
Raiders’ fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad will be in for a rollercoaster of a game, coming up against his former club for this first time since signing for the Green Machine.
CNK joined the Raiders at the start of the year and has been a revelation at the back this while quickly becoming a fan favourite.
The Cook Island international has scored ten tries this season so far, as well as leading the competition in kick return metres with 1,245.
Nicoll-Klokstad will be hoping to keep up his exciting performances and inspire his Raiders’ teammates on his home turn this Friday night.
Raps and Taps Homecoming
Speaking about homecomings, both Jordan Rapana and Joe Tapine will be raring to go on home soil this Friday night.
Both Kiwi internationals have been in tremendous form this season, playing key roles in their respective positions despite picking up injuries early on in the season
Rapana has been solid out on the wing, with the 2017 Dally M winger of the year crossing over for five tries in the 13 games he’s played.
Tapine has been a rock in the centre of the park, cementing his position at lock after coming back in round 11 from an ankle injury.
It’ll be a tough game against the Warriors, however both Rapana and Tapine will be homing to claim a win on their own home turf.
Hodgo hits 100
This weekend will be a special one for Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson as he runs out for his 100th Raiders match.
The England international joined the Canberra Raiders in 2015 and instantly became a key player in the starting line-up.
Since making his debut, Hodgson was awarded the 2016 Meninga Award and was named Raider’s co-captain at the end of last year, along with Jarrod Croker.
The hooker will hope to continue his impressive form this season, which has seen him get eight try assists and make more than 600 tackles.
Warriors within weeks
Round 20’s game will be a taste of what’s to come for Raiders’ fans, as the Green Machine will face off against the Warriors twice within the next six rounds.
Coming towards the latter stages of the NRL campaign, this is the first time the Raiders have faced the Warriors this season.
Last time they met was Round 25 of last year, a game which saw the Warriors clinch a 20-16 win over the Green Machine.
If last season is anything to go by, Friday night’s clash will be a close one, however the Raiders will be ready to break some New Zealand hearts.
Five Day Turnaround
In another tough challenge for the Raiders, they’ll have a five day turnaround after Sunday night’s win to prepare for Friday night’s clash.
This will be the second time this season the Green Machine have endured the physical test after Round 1 and 2, where they faced the Titans and Storm respectively.
The Raiders will head into the match full of confidence after their 30-18 win over the Panthers last weekend, and won’t let the short turnaround affect them when they hope to make it four wins in a row against the Warriors on Friday night.