Jarrod Croker returns, and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is set to play his 50th match for the men in green when the Raiders take on the New Zealand Warriors this Saturday at GIO Stadium in round three of the NRL.
The 3 pm kickoff and forecast of no rain will give the Raiders a reprise from the torrid conditions they played in last week.
In the first half against the Sharks, the Raiders dominated territory and possession and completed above 90 percent. They will be looking to put in a similar effort for the full 80 minutes against the Warriors, who won against the Titans in round one and came close to beating the Knights in round two.
Raiders’ captain, Jarrod Croker, returns to the team in an otherwise unchanged lineup. The Raiders' forward pack is looking like one of the best in the NRL after the first two rounds, with Hudson Young, Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine all getting Dally M points last week.
The Warriors have named a strong side to face the Raiders, led by their representative back three, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, David Fusitu’a and Ken Maumalo. Sean O’Sullivan has been named at halfback in place of the injured Chanel Harris-Tavita. Bunty Afoa starts at prop for the suspended Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.
Behind the Limelight: Curtis Scott
Last Time They Met
The Raiders defeated the Warriors 26-14 at GIO Stadium in round 19 last year.
Match Highlights: Raiders v Warriors
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad v Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is set to play his 50th match for the Raiders this weekend. Over the first two rounds of the season, he has shown why he is such an important member of the team.
Nicoll-Klokstad has been at the forefront of the Raiders' impressive defensive efforts. He is always solid in defusing tough kicks, organising the defensive line and is constantly getting the Raiders off to strong set-starts with his hard running play from the back.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is giving the Warriors his all in his final season at the club. Last week he ran for over 200 meters and set-up two tries in the Warrior's narrow loss to the Knights.
Jarrod Croker v Peta Hiku
Raiders captain, Jarrod Croker, makes his return against the Warriors and will be going up against another NRL veteran in Peta Hiku.
Croker, along with Elliott Whitehead and Jack Wighton have become one of the NRL’s most prominent edge attacks over the last two seasons. Croker’s quick hands, great rugby league IQ and a kick chase that is second to none make him one of the most elite centres in the game.
Peta Hiku was the Warriors’ top try scorer last year, and his partnership with winger Ken Maumalo has the potential to be one of the best centre-wing pairings in the NRL. Hiku is always dangerous near the goal-line with his offloads and great short-kicking ability.
Ryan James v Ben Murdoch-Masila
Ryan James and Ben Murdoch-Masila have both made an immediate impact in their return to playing NRL.
James started off the bench in his first two games for the Raiders after being sidelined with injury at the Titans for close to two years. As soon as he got on the field his impact was noticeable - making line breaks in both games and smashing opposition forwards in defence.
Ben Murdoch-Masila came to Warriors after playing in the UK Super League for the past five years. He is an explosive ball runner off the bench and last week against the Knights, his hard running play saw the Warriors take back momentum in the first half.
Both these bench forwards will be key in the battle for the middle of the field on Saturday.
Head to Head
The Raiders and the Warriors have played 46 times, the Raiders have won 24 and the Warriors have won 20, with two draws between them.