After going down in golden point to the Eels on the weekend, the Raiders will be looking to avoid three straight losses when they go up against the St George Dragons at GIO Stadium on Friday night.
It’s coming home
For the first time since round one, Canberra will have the home ground advantage and the support of roughly 1500 Raiders members, who will hopefully all be wearing green. The Raiders have a strong record against the Dragons at GIO, with 12 wins out of the 16 games played in front of the Raiders army. The clash between the Raiders and their Wollongong rivals usually draws a big crowd, so let's hope the lucky few in attendance can bring the green machine home.
There’s no denying the Raiders have plenty of passion and it has been on full display in recent weeks. The round seven clash against the Sea Eagles which saw three Manly players helped from the field and last week’s performance against the Eels where a fired-up Corey Horsburgh was clearly emotional as he exited the game with a foot injury. Unfortunately, Horsburgh was ruled out earlier today for an extended period of time, but the team will continue to put in the work and hopefully come away with the win.
Battle of the form second-rowers
Whitehead has been huge for the Raiders recently, setting up the try that levelled the scoring last week against Parramatta and scoring one himself for his fourth of the season. With three offloads and six line breaks for the season, Frizell will have his hands full trying to keep Whitehead quiet. The Dragons second-rower doesn’t let much through though, missing just eight of 263 tackles so far this season, and with average running metres of 132 to Whiteheads 85, the clash of the two will not disappoint.
George Williams try assists keep coming
The Englishman is yet to score a point in the NRL, but the Raiders halfback has achieved seven try assists in as many appearances, which puts him equal third in the league with Tom Trbojevic. Williams has impressed experts since exploding onto the scene at the start of 2020, with some even questioning whether he’s the best halfback in the game. With such an impressive start to his NRL career, Williams will definitely be one to watch this weekend.
Former Raiders back in Canberra
The Dragons boast two former Raiders in Mikaele Ravalawa and Paul Vaughan. Since leaving the Raiders to join the Dragons after the 2016 season, Vaughan has only returned to his former home ground once, back in 2017. The representative front-rower is arguably one of the best in the game, but his former club will be sure to remind him why their forward pack is one to be feared. It's said that the game is won in the middle fan favourite Iosia Soliola will show no doubt show Vaughan exactly what that means when they face off.
Getting back to where they need to be today
Ricky Stuart is sticking to his guns with his squad and not panicking about their results just yet. At the press conference following their golden point loss to the Eels, Stuart told the media that they’ll never be the team they were last year, but that they’re not far away from the team that they need to be today.