The Canberra Raiders will resume their 2020 campaign against the Melbourne Storm in Melbourne. After a lengthy hiatus, football is back and here are six things we are excited to see in round three!
Josh Papalii will play his 200th NRL game in the exact place where it all started back in 2011. Since his debut, he has racked up 199 NRL games, 15 games for Queensland, and is a dual-international with Australia and Samoa respectively.
Papalii had to put his celebrations on ice prematurely due to the coronavirus pandemic, but he will be keen to bring up the milestone with a win on enemy soil.
Papalii is no stranger to a huge performance against Melbourne, his heroics from last year will still be fresh in the memory bank for Raiders fans.
The dual-international helped send the Raiders to the Grand Final with a late try against the Rabbitohs, which has earned Papalii the reputation as being one of the games most feared forwards in the competition.
Footy is back!
After 70 days without Raiders rugby league, we are finally back. The NRL competition was put on hold on March 23 and it has been a long time between drinks since then.
With the Raiders putting together a perfect start of two wins from two, the boys will look to keep the momentum going.
Melbourne are also undefeated in 2020 and with the Raiders claiming both meetings between the two sides last year, this match has all the ingredients for a blockbuster.
Scott back in familiar territory
New recruit Curtis Scott will face his former club for the first time since he left the Storm for further opportunities in Canberra.
Scott played 48 games for the Melbourne Storm where won a premiership in 2017, he will know his former teammates better than anyone.
Since his arrival in Canberra and with the NRL competition put on hold, Scott managed two games in green where he scored a try in round two and locked down a lethal right edge combination with Nick Cotric.
Although it has only been two games with George Williams steering the ship in the halves, his combination with the spine looked very dangerous.
Williams was already familiar with fellow Englishman Josh Hodgson, but it has allowed him more time to get familiar with Jack Wighton and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
All members of the spine have represented their countries and looked very dangerous with their combination in the opening two rounds.
The time off has allowed the spine to fine-tune their combinations and they will be keen to put theory into practice in round three.
Happy hunting ground
The Raiders will be looking to make it three wins a row at AAMI Park after beating the Storm twice in Melbourne last season.
In round 22 they trailed by as many as 18 points but came back to steal a victory at the death with a Papalii try under the posts giving the Raiders a memorable victory.
The two sides met again in the Qualifying Finals just four weeks later with the Raiders winning another heart-stopper through a late John Bateman try.
With both sides undefeated to start 2020, Canberra will be looking to rain on Melbourne’s parade once again to continue their perfect start.
Hodgson vs Smith
Arguably the two best hookers in the competition will meet again, when Josh Hodgson and Cameron Smith take the field on Saturday.
Smith has played over 400 NRL career games and Hodgson is no stranger to a big game either, both players are instrumental to their teams’ success.
Both players like to pull the strings and take pressure off their halves which has a huge impact for both teams.
With both players likely to control the tempo of the clash, the battle of the number nines will go a long way in deciding the outcome of this game.