The Canberra Raiders will take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs for a spot in the 2019 NRL Grand Final this Friday night at GIO Stadium.
This is the first ever preliminary final to be held in the Nation’s Capital, with the Raiders having the opportunity to go to their first Grand Final since 1994.
The Green Machine enjoyed a week off after defeating the Storm 12-10 down in Melbourne, with a John Bateman try in the dying minutes securing the win.
The Rabbitohs head into the match full of energy following their gutsy 34-26 win over the Manly Sea Eagles last week.
Ricky Stuart has named a full strength line-up.
Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-KlokstadFullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Adam Doueihi
Winger for Raiders is number 2 Nick CotricWinger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex Johnston
Centre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod CrokerCentre for Rabbitohs is number 5 Campbell Graham
Centre for Raiders is number 4 Joseph LeiluaCentre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Dane Gagai
Winger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan RapanaWinger for Rabbitohs is number 19 Corey Allan
Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack WightonFive-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Aidan SezerHalfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh PapaliiProp for Rabbitohs is number 12 Sam Burgess
Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh HodgsonHooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
Prop for Raiders is number 10 Iosia SoliolaProp for Rabbitohs is number 10 Liam Knight
2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 John Bateman2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 John Sutton
2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 16 Ethan Lowe
Lock for Raiders is number 13 Joseph TapineLock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Bailey SimonssonInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 8 Thomas Burgess
Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Emre GulerInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 15 Tevita Tatola
Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Corey HorsburghInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Mark Nicholls
Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Dunamis LuiInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 20 Dean Britt
Last Time: The Rabbitohs edged out the Raiders 16-12 in a tight contest at GIO Stadium in Round 10. Despite the Green Machine leading at halftime thanks to three Jarrod Croker penalty goals, a late Mawene Hiroti try got the Rabbitohs the win.
Josh Papalii v Tom Burgess
It’s going to be a humongous match-up in the centre of the park as Josh Papalii will face off against Tom Burgess.
Papalii has had a fantastic season for the Raiders, with his efforts in the 2019 season seeing him win his second consecutive Meninga Medal, and third overall.
The Queensland international has made 667 tackles and scored five tries, including his important try that saw the Raiders win in the dying stages over the Storm in Round 22.
Tom Burgess has had a strong seventh season in the NRL, with the England international continuing his strong 2018 form into the new season. He’s managed to score one try and register 398 tackles.
Jarrod Croker v Dane Gagai
A clash of experience will be brewing in the centres as Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker will come eye to eye with Dane Gagai.
Croker has had a phenomenal season in the lime green jersey, breaking milestones left right and centre as he became the club’s highest try scorer, surpassing Jason Croker.
Croker is ranked second for most points scored in the season, notching up 216 points thanks to 12 tries and 84 goals. He also leads the Raiders try scoring tally, just one try ahead of fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
Gagai has continued to show why he is one of the best centres in the game, scoring nine tries and picking up three assists. Gagai also represented Queensland in all three Origin games, picking up the Man of the Match award in the first game thanks to his two tries.
Jack Wighton v Cody Walker
Two NSW representatives will do battle at GIO Stadium on Friday night, as Jack Wighton meets up against Cody Walker.
Wighton was moved into the halves by Ricky Stuart at the start of the season, and has continued to show his improvements throughout the season, being rewarded with an Origin call-up for all three games.
In his 24 appearances this year, Wighton has notched up seven tries, eight assists and 80 tackle breaks, as well as surpassing his 150 match milestone with the club.
Walker also made his NSW debut this year, starting at five-eighth in the first game. He has been one of the NRL’s standout players this year, scoring 16 tries and assisting 15 as well.
It’ll be a huge game between the two clubs, and expect both Wighton and Walker to be at the heart of each team and will be doing their part to get their side into the NRL Grand Final.
Head to Head: The Canberra Raiders and the South Sydney Rabbitohs have met on 56 occasions, with the Green Machine winning 32 will the Rabbits have won the remaining 24.