The Canberra Raiders will be looking to make it back-to-back wins when they host the Melbourne Storm at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.
Melbourne were also last start winners as they defeated the Sydney Roosters on Golden Point. With plenty at stake for both sides, here are six things we are keen to see in round nine!
The Raiders made a successful return home to GIO Stadium last week, they were able to claim a victory in front of 1500 screaming fans.
Although a small in size, the crowd brought the noise and it definitely boosted the Green Machine as they bounced back from two straight losses.
With the ACT Government announcing they will follow the federal limit of allowing 25% of stadiums to be filled, it means there can potentially be over 5000 fans in attendance this week.
Backed by a stirring Viking Clap, the Raiders will welcome an increased attendance and they will need the fans to again create the atmosphere.
Testing the Depth
After injuries to Iosia Soliola and Emre Guler on the weekend and with both looking at lengthy sideline stints, coach Ricky Stuart may have to dip into the depth.
Already missing John Bateman, the loss of Guler and Soliola means that the Raiders may have to bring in a debutant to come off the bench.
A player in the frame for his debut is Kai O’Donnell, with the young backrower was an essential part of the Raiders Jersey Flegg run to the Grand Final last year and since then has been elevated to the top 30 squad.
Dunamis Lui will also likely make his way back into the starting 17 after spending two weeks on the extended bench.
Young Raiders to step up in Soliola's absence
Back to back
Two straight wins may be just what the doctor ordered, as the Raiders look to creep closer to the top four.
After suffering back to back losses at the hands of the Manly Sea Eagles and Parramatta Eels respectively, the Green Machine put on a first-half surge to defeat a gallant St George Illawarra Dragons outfit.
With a shortened competition, every two points gained is vital and could be the make or break in playing finals football this year.
Although they meet a very strong Storm outfit fresh off a massive win in golden point against the reigning premiers, the Raiders will be very optimistic with their chances of victory after already defeating them in round three this season.
After defeating the Storm in round three this year, it meant the Raiders extended their winning streak to three against Melbourne.
With only five other sides in history boasting a four or more-win streak against the Storm, the Raiders will be looking to achieve a rare feat on Saturday night.
The Raiders kept the Storm to a single try in their round three clash, which is Melbourne’s lowest points tally in a game this season.
Melbourne will be keen for revenge, but they will need to beat a very determined Raiders side backed by a ‘big’ crowd.
After going eight games without crossing the stripe, co-captain Jarrod Croker finally broke his personal drought against the Dragons.
Croker pounced on a grubber from Jack Wighton early in the second half to add to his three successful conversions before his try.
With 50 points so far this season, Croker is currently equal sixth on the point scoring tally with 46 of those points coming off the boot.
Now the try scoring drought is broken, expect the Raiders all-time leading try scorer to continue adding to his tally and more tries may come this week.
Play of the week: Simonsson try
The Raiders looked very potent over on the left-hand side of the park on Friday, with Wighton always looking dangerous, expect more of that this week.
Many times in the first half, Wighton would find Elliot Whitehead and an attacking raid always looked on the cards.
The Raiders opened the scoring on the left side with Nick Cotric crossing in the corner but could have had plenty more with Croker and Wighton always looming as a threat.
Melbourne have one of the fiercest defences in the competition, but their right side will be on high alert with the Raiders' left side looking as the most likely source of points.