The Canberra Raiders will host the Melbourne Storm at 7:35 pm this Saturday at GIO Stadium, where both teams will line-up without key players after a number of injuries and suspensions suffered from last weekend’s Magic Round in Brisbane.
The Raiders got the breakthrough 20-18 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs last weekend to snap a five-game losing streak.
Although it came at a cost, as the green machine will be without stars Josh Papalii, Jack Wighton and Josh Hodgson after suffering separate suspensions in their game against the Bulldogs.
The suspended players tally adds to the already-number of injuries the Raiders have encountered over the course of the season.
The Melbourne Storm will also be without stars Cameron Munster (foot) and Harry Grant (hamstring) who are still yet to make a full recovery for Saturday’s clash. Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen will most likely miss this round of footy too after suffering a major concussion against the Dragons last weekend.
Last Time They Met
The last time these two sides faced was in the 2020 NRL Preliminary Final where the Storm defeated the Raiders 30-10 at Suncorp Stadium.
George Williams v Jahrome Hughes
George Williams will have to take further charge this weekend as he will be without his sidekick five-eighth Jack Wighton.
Williams will have the responsibility to direct his troops around the park as he faces one of the best defensive sides in the competition.
He has the ability to tear any game open at will, with his lightning speed and awareness to create opportunities for his teammates.
The opposite halfback Jahrome Hughes is also extremely dangerous with his explosive power to break defences open with his incredible strength.
Keep your eyes on both number sevens as they can change the momentum of a contest within a heartbeat and have a huge impact on this match.
Curtis Scott v Justin Olam
Raiders centre Curtis Scott will face his former club of Melbourne this Saturday in what will be a huge test for the young outside-back.
Scott relies on his hardworking ability to take tough runs out of his own end and finish off tries down his left edge of the field.
Scott scored his first try of the season last weekend where he beat two players to score in the corner, giving his side the lead with ten minutes to go.
He will look to keep his try-scoring fashion up this weekend where he matches-up against PNG international Justin Olam.
Olam has been in recent form setting up and scoring a number of tries down his right edge for the Storm.
Olam’s strength and tackle-breaking ability will be hard to handle but will create a great match-up between these two in-form centres of the competition.
Emre Guler v Christian Welch
Guler has found his groove slotting into the starting front row this season for the Raiders, providing plenty of impact for the green-machine throughout the middle third of the field.
Guler had twelve hit-ups for over 100 metres against the Bulldogs last weekend but will need to stand-up even more so this weekend without key forwards Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine.
Guler will meet his match this weekend when he faces QLD representative forward Christian Welch who has been on fire in the middle for the red-hot Melbourne Storm.
Welch’s hard running and hard hitting perceives significant for the Storm’s success as they are the #1 ranked attack in the NRL.
Welch will look to take advantage of an injured Raiders forward pack and will be a great test for a young forward like Guler.
Head to Head
The Raiders and Storm have faced-off 47 times with the Storm taking 33 wins to Canberra’s 14. The Raiders will look to defy history and odds as they host the reigning premiers this weekend.