The Canberra Raiders will face the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night in round 10 of the competition, it will be in their first meet since the infamous 2019 Grand Final.
The Raiders are back on the road to Sydney this week, to go head to head against the Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground. It’ll be the first time the Raiders have played at the SCG since the 1987 Grand Final against the Sea Eagles.
It’s set to be a thrilling contest between the two 2019 grand finalists. Here are six things we’re looking forward to in round 10 – and yes, we can confirm there are six.
The much-anticipated rematch
There’s no doubt about it – this the most anticipated game of the season and for good reason. For the first time since the epic 2019 Grand Final clash, the Canberra Raiders will go head to head with the Sydney Rooster and the rivalry is higher than ever.
It’s hard to forget the bitter loss of last years’ Grand Final where the Raiders were the subject of a few controversial calls that ultimately ended in a 14-8 win for the Roosters.
But this time around it’s a different game, different men and the Raiders will be zealous for a different result.
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He’s only been on the scene for a hot minute, but Englishman George Williams has been quick to make an impression in the NRL. Since joining the Raiders in the offseason, he’s become a key playmaker for the side.
In just nine appearances he’s managed one try, eight try assists, one line break assists, six offloads, five forced dropouts and counting.
His impact on the field doesn’t go unnoticed and he’s set to make an impact against the Roosters when he goes head to head with the club for the first time.
The Raiders have so far suffered a numbertough season of injuries, with eight of their men in the causality ward. Last weekends’ match against the Storm produced season-ending injuries for Josh Hodgson (knee) and Bailey Simonsson (shoulder), but the Raiders are united and aren’t letting any setbacks take their eye off the prize. The Green Machine’s future is bright and they’re ready to cause havoc come Thursday.
Opportunity for the interchange
With Josh Hodgson out for the season, it puts the starting hooker position up for grabs. The Raiders have two strong hookers up their sleeve, ready to go. Siliva Havili and Tom Starling are ready to burst back onto the field and snatch up the opportunity for game time.
Havili is no stranger to the No.9 jersey, he filled the shoes of Hodgson back in 2018 but has only improved on his skills since his last starting stint. He came in last weekend to replace Hodgson and looked to be dangerous. In his 53 minutes of game time, he managed 71 metres, 65 receipts and 35 tackles and we’re looking forward to seeing what he produces in the coming weeks.
Young gun Tom Starling has only made four NRL appearances but is expected to get a run again this season. He continues to show strength and dedication at training and his hard work is expected to pay off.
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Jack Wighton is ready to turn it on
Jack Wightons’ implausible performance for the Raiders in last year’s grand final rightly earned him the 2019 Clive Churchill medal.
He scored a crucial first-half try to get the Raiders in the game. Wighton finished the game with one try, 83 run metres, five tackle busts, one linebreak and 13 tackles.
Wighton kicked off the 2020 season in the same stride. So far this season he’s racked up four tries, three try assists and is averaging 99 metres a game.
With the bitter taste of last years grand final loss still present, he’s ready to turn it on again on Thursday.
Thursday night blockbuster
The Raiders will lace up their boots for their first Thursday night match of the 2020 season. It’s a rare occasion for the Raiders to play Thursday night footy, only playing four in the last five years. We’re hoping it’s the breath of fresh air that the Raiders need to get them back into the winner's circle.
Return to the SCG
Incredibly, Thursday night’s match will be the first time the Canberra Raiders will set foot on the hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground since the 1987 Grand Final. The green machine were outclassed by a Cliff Lyons Sea Eagles side on that day as they fell 18-8 to the side from the Northern Beaches.
In total, the Raiders have played at the historical ground on nine occasions, winning three, losing four and playing out two draws.