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Match Preview: Raiders v Titans

Jarrod Croker is only four points away from creating NRL history when the Raiders prepare to face the Gold Coast Titans at GIO Stadium on Friday night.

Croker, 29, is at 1996 points and only requires four more points to become to youngest player in history to reach 2000 NRL points.

Behind the Limelight: Jarrod Croker

The Raiders opened up their 2019 campaign by keeping the Titans scoreless in round one and will be looking for a similar result this time round in front of the Canberra faithful.

The Raiders are coming off an incredible 2019 season where they were one win away from their first premiership in 25 years and will be keen to go one step further in 2020.

The Green Machine only played one trial match where they defeated the Canterbury Bulldogs in a gritty affair where they trailed at half-time.

Gold Coast will come into clash full of confidence after coming off a 28-22 victory over the Brisbane Broncos which was the Titans first match under new coach Justin Holbrook.

The Raiders have named two new faces in their 17, Curtis Scott and George Williams are set to make their Raiders debuts after being named to start. Coach Ricky Stuart has also named two utilities on the bench with Siliva Havili and Michael Oldfield set to see some action from the interchange.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
    Fullback for Titans is number 1 Phillip Sami
  • Winger for Raiders is number 2 Bailey Simonsson
    Winger for Titans is number 2 Anthony Don
  • Centre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod Croker
    Centre for Titans is number 3 Kallum Watkins
  • Centre for Raiders is number 4 Curtis Scott
    Centre for Titans is number 4 Tyrone Peachey
  • Winger for Raiders is number 5 Nick Cotric
    Winger for Titans is number 5 Dale Copley
  • Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
    Five-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Tyrone Roberts
  • Halfback for Raiders is number 7 George Williams
    Halfback for Titans is number 7 Ashley Taylor

Forwards

  • Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
    Prop for Titans is number 8 Jarrod Wallace
  • Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
    Hooker for Titans is number 9 Mitch Rein
  • Prop for Raiders is number 10 Dunamis Lui
    Prop for Titans is number 10 Sam Lisone
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Corey Horsburgh
    2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Kevin Proctor
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
    2nd Row for Titans is number 12 Bryce Cartwright
  • Lock for Raiders is number 13 Joseph Tapine
    Lock for Titans is number 13 Jai Arrow

Interchange

  • Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Siliva Havili
    Interchange for Titans is number 14 Nathan Peats
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Emre Guler
    Interchange for Titans is number 15 Jai Whitbread
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Iosia Soliola
    Interchange for Titans is number 16 Brian Kelly
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Michael Oldfield
    Interchange for Titans is number 17 Jaimin Jolliffe

Last Time: The Raiders kept the Titans scoreless as they ran away with a 21-0 at CBUS Super Stadium in round one. In what would be the first of three shutouts for the Green Machine in season 2019. The win set the tone for the season and showcased the new defensive structures that took the Raiders all the way to the Grand Final.

Key Matchups

Jarrod Croker vs Kallum Watkins

Two experienced centres with over 500 games of first grade experience between the pair in both the Super League and NRL, with both wanting to make an impact early.

Croker could create history entering his 12th season with the Raiders. In 2019, he played in his first grand final with the club in 2019 and finishing the year 228 points, which included 13 tries and 88 goals.

The co-captain will be keen to continue to his point scoring run and lead his side to a victory in round one.

The best of Jarrod Croker

Watkins may have only played six games in the NRL, but the English international has a wealth of experience with Leeds Rhinos in the Super League. With a full pre-season under his belt on the Gold Coast, Watkins showed strong form in their trial and will be eager to show Titans fans what to expect in 2020.

The Raiders looked dangerous down the left edge in the trial match. A lot of their attacking raids went down the Croker’s side and expect them to test the Titans right edge all game.

George Williams vs Ashley Taylor

An intriguing battle of two number sevens who are looking to perform early in 2020, both Williams and Taylor will want to impress in round one.

Williams was signed from the Wigan Warriors to steer the Green Machine in 2020. The English International played a big role in the trial, looking dangerous with the ball in hand and controlled the kicking duties.

A 2018 Super League Winner, Williams brings a winning mentality and will want to start his NRL career on the right note by steering the Raiders to victory.

Taylor had a mixed 2019, after impressing in 2018 with 17 try-assists. The former Broncos junior played 80 minutes in their trial triumph and will be looking to replicate his 2018 form.

Expect both players to be heavily involved in proceedings, with both halves expecting to take control of their respective outfits.

Joseph Tapine vs Jai Arrow

Two representative players with plenty of fire power, both these players will be an integral part of their side’s success moving forward.

Tapine had an injury interrupted 2019 campaign but found some fitness later on in the season where he was a key factor in the Raiders finals campaign. Having represented the Kiwis, Tapine has stated his intentions to play in the middle this year and gets his chance as he is named to play lock in round 1.

Tapine showed not only his defensive prowess in the trial but also showed the ability to offload. The New Zealand international played a big part in the lead up to the first try with an offload to Josh Papalii.

Arrow signed a highly publicised deal with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and will join them in 2021, but he is committed to the Titans this year. Arrow has played 4 games for Queensland and is highly touted as one of the best young forwards in the game.

Both locks will be a big part in deciding the outcome of this game, expect the pair to play big minutes and have plenty involvement in the middle of the park.

Coaches Comment: Stuart expecting tough Titans clash

Head to Head: In 23 matches played between the teams, Gold Coast have a slender advantage winning 12 times compared to the Raiders 11.