The Canberra Raiders return to Wagga Wagga for the first time since 2019. They will look to put on a show in front of a packed house against the Newcastle Knights this Saturday at 3pm at McDonald’s Park.
In a massive boost for the Raiders, Josh Papalii returns to the starting line-up, and George Williams makes a return after an injury kept him out of last week’s game.
With both sides looking for a victory, plenty of attacking football should be on the cards.
The Raiders have started well over the last couple of weeks but haven’t been able to close out games. The Green Machine will want to put on a dominant display for the full 80 minutes to come out on top.
The Knights are also needing to turn their form around after suffering consecutive losses. The Raiders will have to be prepared for Knights to throw everything at them.
Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Caleb AekinsFullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
Winger for Raiders is number 2 Bailey SimonssonWinger for Knights is number 2 Brayden Musgrove
Centre for Raiders is number 3 Sebastian KrisCentre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
Centre for Raiders is number 4 Curtis ScottCentre for Knights is number 4 Bradman Best
Winger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan RapanaWinger for Knights is number 19 Starford To'a
Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack WightonFive-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Kurt Mann
Halfback for Raiders is number 7 George WilliamsHalfback for Knights is number 7 Phoenix Crossland
Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh PapaliiProp for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Tom StarlingHooker for Knights is number 9 Jayden Brailey
Prop for Raiders is number 10 Emre GulerProp for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Corey Harawira-Naera2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell
2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead2nd Row for Knights is number 18 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
Lock for Raiders is number 13 Ryan SuttonLock for Knights is number 12 Mitchell Barnett
Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Siliva HaviliInterchange for Knights is number 13 Connor Watson
Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Hudson YoungInterchange for Knights is number 14 Sauaso Sue
Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Corey HorsburghInterchange for Knights is number 15 Jacob Saifiti
Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Joseph TapineInterchange for Knights is number 16 Brodie Jones
Reserve for Raiders is number 20 Matthew TimokoReserve for Knights is number 22 Gehamat Shibasaki
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
Last Time They Met
The Raiders suffered a 34-18 loss against the Knights in round four last season.
Josh Papalii v David Klemmer
Turning a team’s season around is no easy task, but these two front-rowers can inspire their teammates with massive performances in crucial games.
After a week off, Josh Papalii will come back into the side refreshed and ready to take on the Knights. Papalii has always stepped up when his team need him the most.
This Saturday, Papalii is set to be a force in the middle of the field once again.
David Klemmer has been one of the Knights best performers since he arrived at the club in 2019. His trademark aggression and power can give his team momentum through the middle of the field. The Knights’ forwards need to lay a good platform this week to help out their inexperienced halves pairing.
Jack Wighton v Kurt Mann
Jack Wighton had his best game of the year last week against the Rabbitohs, where he showcased his elite skill set.
Whether it was by running, kicking or passing, Wighton threatened the Rabbitohs’ defence all night.
Hopefully, the momentum from last week’s performance continues into this week. It seems to be a simple equation - the more involved Wighton is in a game, the better the Raiders perform.
For the Knights, Kurt Mann will have to step up with both Mitchell Pearce and Blake Green out injured. The former utility has found his home at five-eighth under coach Adam O’Brien, but this week he’ll have to act as the senior playmaker with young Phoenix Crossland set to partner him in the halves.
Curtis Scott v Bradman Best
Curtis Scott stepped up in attack last week for the Raiders. The centre had 135 run meters off 12 carries and set up Jordan Rapana for a try.
Scott is starting to close in on his best form. He will trouble the Knights’ left edge defence with his ability to break tackles and offload.
Scott will also have to contain Knights’ superstar Bradman Best in defence. Best possesses a lethal combination of speed and power that can turn a game on its head, as he did against the Warriors earlier this season. Scott will have to get to Best early to limit his momentum, which will help nullify his barnstorming runs.
Head to Head
The Raiders have played the Knights 58 times with 28 wins 21 losses. Astoundingly the teams share four draws, the most the Raiders have against any other club.