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NSW Cup Preview: Raiders v Rabbitohs

This weekend the fifth-placed Canberra Raiders will be playing for a spot in the top four, and a big performance against the Rabbitohs will help them get there.

The two teams will clash at Raiders Belconnen at 4 pm on Saturday in round eight of the NSW Cup.

The Raiders have just come off a bye and will be raring to go, especially after their last hit out; a big comeback win against the Eels.

They will be hoping to exploit the Rabbitohs’ defence which has already leaked 168 points this season.

One aspect of the game the Raiders will have to improve upon is their first-half defence. In round six, the Eels scored three first-half tries against the Raiders, and in round three, Mounties scored five.

Shutting down the Rabbitohs’ attack early doors will be a priority for the Green Machine.

Key Match-Ups

Matt Frawley v Troy Dargan

Matt Frawley has been in exceptional form this season. His efforts in the Raiders’ round six win against the Eels were outstanding - a try, a linebreak and two try-assists.

His kicking game close to the line, especially his chip kicks, can put a defence in all sorts of trouble. Whether he is partnering with Sam Williams or Brad Schneider, Frawley has remained consistent in producing quality football this season.

Rabbitohs’ captain Troy Dargan gives the team much of their attacking spark. Primarily a running half with slick passing skills, the Raiders will have to shut him down early to nullify the Rabbitohs’ attack.

Iosia Soliola v Patrick Mago

In a team full of young and talented players, it’s always good to have an experienced campaigner to bring focus and direction into the side.

That’s exactly what Soliola brings, as well as toughness, work ethic and professionalism. The Raiders will benefit from his 335 games of first-grade rugby league, and he is sure to make an impact with his hard runs and big hits.

Patrick Mago brings sheer size and strength to the Rabbitohs’ pack. Over six feet tall and weighing in at 116kg, the big forward can plough through the middle and create a quick play-the-ball.

If the Raiders can limit Mago’s impact, they’ll go one step closer to blunting the Rabbitohs’ attack.