The poor old Warriors are feeling a bit hard done by after refereeing blunders played a part in last week's 24-22 loss to the Eels.
Tough as it must be to swallow, all they can do is get on with the job of trying to make the finals, and that basically means winning at least five of their final six games.
They won't get any free rides from the Raiders, who are eyeing a top two finish after last week's impressive road win over Penrith.
Ricky Stuart will be urging his side to stay focused against a desperate Warriors.
Warriors: Jazz Tevaga moves from lock to hooker in a late switch with Karl Lawton going to the bench. Lawton had been named originally as the replacement for suspended hooker Isaac Luke. Lachlan Burr takes Tevaga's place at lock while Sam Lisone and Adam Pompey drop out of the final squad. Kodi Nikorima is back at five-eighth after missing last week's narrow loss to Parramatta with an ankle injury. Chanel Harris-Tavita shifts to the bench. Luke and Adam Keighran were the first two cuts to the 21-man squad named on Thursday. The Warriors have lost their past five games at Mt Smart Stadium.
Raiders: Are 1-17. Sam Williams and Hudson Young are the two players to drop out. No injury concerns for the Green Machine, who flew direct to New Zealand after their win at Penrith on Sunday due to the short turnaround. Sebastian Kris and Royce Hunt were the two players left out the squad 24 hours out from kick-off. Josh Hodgson will play his 100th NRL game.
It's the battle of the metre-eaters with Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (3307m) and Canberra custodian Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (3015m) ranking first and third for yardage this year. Adding to the theatre, Nicoll-Klokstad is facing his former club for the first time and will want to show the Warriors they made a huge mistake by not offering him more NRL chances.
For the Warriors to win
They have the power up front to match the Raiders but do they have the stamina and will to do it? They weren't far off against Parra and need to play with the same effort on Friday. Someone has to take some pressure off Blake Green in the play-making department, while RTS and Maumalo must provide strong carries from the back.
For the Raiders to win
Last week's defeat of the Panthers was the final piece of proof that Ricky Stuart has his team believing they are good enough to go all the way. They need to continue to build their game plan around defence and make sure they don't get sucked into playing Warriors football.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Raiders were great on Sunday, but now they have to travel to New Zealand on a short turnaround. Ricky Stuart won’t let there be any excuses. Defensively they are very, very good – that’s what wins premierships. As for the Warriors, it is pretty much do or die. They’re back at Mt Smart which will help, but I don’t know if they’ll have the physicality or pace of game that the Raiders can play at. I think this will be goodbye to the Warriors for 2019. Raiders by 6
The unassuming Ken Maumalo has proven a stats beast in 2019. The Warriors winger leads the competition for post-contact metres (1008) and is only one behind top try-scorer Maika Sivo with 12 four-pointers.
And another thing ...
This will be the first meeting between these teams in 2019 after the Warriors completed a 2-0 sweep last season. Canberra looked to have victory sewn up in the first clash last year before losing 20-19 in a heart-breaker. They failed to square the ledger in the return meeting, going down 20-16 at Mt Smart Stadium.