The Raiders will have to dig deep to come up with the win in Thursday's grand final replay against the Roosters at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Canberra has a five-day turnaround this week, between two of the competition heavyweights, following their valiant effort in their 20 - 14 loss to the Melbourne Storm on Saturday night.
Their opposition will be well-rested and roaring to go off the back of their huge 42 – 16 win against the Cowboys on Thursday night.
To add to the challenge that the Raiders face ahead of them, the Storm game saw season-ending injuries to Josh Hodgson and Bailey Simonsson with a ruptured ACL and shoulder injury respectively.
Behind the Limelight: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
Hodgson and Simonsson join the growing list of Raiders with long term injuries which includes, John Bateman (shoulder), Sia Soliola (facial fractures), Corey Horsburgh (foot) and Emre Guler (ankle).
The depth of the Canberra side will be put to the ultimate test on Thursday as Siliva Havili is named as the starting hooker for the injured co-captain and Tom Starling named on the bench. Jordan Rapana will start on the wing in place of Simonsson, and Curtis Scott has been listed on the bench.
Brett Morris is set to return for the Roosters this week after suffering a groin injury which saw him pulled from the squad last minute before their clash against the Cowboys.
Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend will both return after head knocks in round eight and nine respectively, and Isaac Liu has been named in the extended squad after suffering a broken rib in round seven.
The Raiders defence will have to be near perfect this week as they come up against the highest-scoring team in the competition. They’re separated by just two points on the ladder, but the fourth-place Roosters have scored a massive 268 points compared to the Raiders on 164.
Roosters v Raiders - Round 10
The tensions will be high in their first clash since the 2019 grand final that saw the Roosters get away with a 14 – 8 win. A try to James Tedesco in the 72nd minute sealed the deal for the Roosters in the decider.
Key match ups:
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad v James Tedesco
Nicoll-Klokstad leads the league in runs made on 196 and averages 200 running metres per game, just marginally behind Tedesco on 244. With four tries each to start the 2020 season, the clash between two of the top fullbacks in the league will be one to watch tomorrow.
Josh Papalii v Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Papalii is no doubt one of the best forwards in the game, boasting three tries, seven offloads, 25 tackle breaks, and a massive 520 post-contact metres. The representative prop had a huge game against the Storm last week, with 25 receipts and 183 total running metres, Raiders fans will be hoping he is well-rested ahead of Thursday's game.
Papalii edges ahead of Waerea-Hargreaves in all of those fields, with one try, five offloads, 10 tackle breaks and 420 post-contact metres, and their defence is no different with Papaliis Tackle Efficiency coming in at 95.7% over Waerea-Hargreaves 92.9%. Playing just 30 minutes in their last two games and coming off the back of a longer rest, there's no doubt that the Roosters hooker will be in good shape and ready to take on the workhorse that is Papalii.
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Kyle Flanagan v George Williams
Flanagan is the highest point scorer in the league on 102 points, almost all of which have come off his boot with just four tries to his name. Whilst Williams has scored just one try so far, he’s got eight try assists compared to Flanagans five, and is averaging 80 running metres per game, double that of the Roosters Halfback. Williams' offloads will keep the Roosters on their toes and his strong defence will help to keep the try-scoring team at bay.
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Head to head
The Roosters have defeated Canberra 25 of the 37 times they’ve met since 1998.