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The Canberra Raiders will be looking for a big performance to keep their finals hopes alive when they take on the St George Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium this Saturday at 5:30pm.

Last week, the Raiders rediscovered their attacking mojo, scoring a season-high 38 points against the Broncos. The performance was anchored by a massive game from Bailey Simonsson, who, in his first game at fullback for the Raiders had some moments of sheer brilliance. His pass to set up Semi Valemi for a try will be on highlight reels for years to come.

The Raiders will undoubtedly want a repeat performance in attack against the Dragons. They will look to their young but incredibly talented outside backs in Sebastian Kris, Matthew Timoko, Semi Valemei and Bailey Simonsson to threaten the Dragons defence.

The Dragons, meanwhile, are coming off a shock loss to the Bulldogs and will be looking to bounce back against the Raiders. Against the Bulldogs, the Dragons only scored six points and could not find any rhythm in their attack.

This match will be a crucial game for both teams. A win for the Raiders could get them into the top eight, while a loss for the Dragons would mean they would undoubtedly drop out.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Dragons is number 20 Tyrell Sloan
    Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Bailey Simonsson
  • Winger for Dragons is number 2 Cody Ramsey
    Winger for Raiders is number 2 Semi Valemei
  • Centre for Dragons is number 3 Brayden Wiliame
    Centre for Raiders is number 3 Sebastian Kris
  • Centre for Dragons is number 4 Gerard Beale
    Centre for Raiders is number 4 Matthew Timoko
  • Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
    Winger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
  • Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey Norman
    Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
  • Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt
    Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Sam Williams

Forwards

  • Prop for Dragons is number 8 Blake Lawrie
    Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
  • Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Andrew McCullough
    Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
  • Prop for Dragons is number 15 Josh Kerr
    Prop for Raiders is number 10 Dunamis Lui
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tariq Sims
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Corey Harawira-Naera
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Jack Bird
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
  • Lock for Dragons is number 17 Jack De Belin
    Lock for Raiders is number 16 Iosia Soliola

Interchange

  • Interchange for Dragons is number 10 Paul Vaughan
    Interchange for Raiders is number 13 Ryan Sutton
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Daniel Alvaro
    Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Tom Starling
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 18 Adam Clune
    Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Emre Guler
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 22 Billy Burns
    Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Joseph Tapine

Reserves

  • Reserve for Dragons is number 19 Poasa Faamausili
    Reserve for Raiders is number 18 Xavier Savage

Match Officials

  • Referee: Chris Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

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The Raiders beat the Dragons 37-8 in round 18 last year.

Key Match-Ups

Bailey Simonsson v Matt Dufty

Bailey Simonsson was a standout for the Raiders last week, with 243 run meters and two try assists. More importantly, his playmaking ability helped take the pressure of Jack Wighton, who was able to play his more natural running game.

The big task for Simonsson this week will be putting in a repeat performance. Simonsson's playmaking combined with his natural athletic ability could be the key to unlocking the Raiders attack for the rest of the season.

Dragons’ fullback Matt Dufty will also be wanting to put in a big performance. Dufty has electric speed and possesses one of the best cut-out passes in the NRL. He will be an integral part of the Dragons’ attack this Saturday.

The Raiders will want to try and limit Dufty’s impact with a strong kick chase and an aggressive defensive line. These tactics will help to restrict Dufty’s space.

Moment of the week: Simonsson pass sets up Valemei

Corey Harawira-Naera v Jack Bird

It will be a battle of two of the fastest forwards in the competition when Corey Harawira-Naera and Jack Bird go head to head this weekend.

Harawira-Naera came into the Raiders' first-grade side after an impressive stint in the NSW Cup. He has continued that form in the NRL and has been of the Raiders’ more dynamic attacking weapons.

His try last week against the Broncos showcased his pace, and he’ll be looking for more opportunities to burn defenders against the Dragons.

Jack Bird has struggled with injuries over the years, but he provides his team with dynamic athleticism and excellent ball skills when he takes the field.

Bird is playing in the forwards this week, but he has also played at centre and fullback throughout his career, so he’ll bring plenty of pace to the Dragons’ pack. His ability to offload the ball in contact will have to be contained by the Raiders’ defence, as he already has five try assist this season.

Josh Papalii v Paul Vaughan

The battle between these two Origin props will be one to watch. On their best day, both Papalii and ex-Raider Vaughan can completely change the momentum of a game.

After missing time due to suspension, Josh Papalii made an impactful return to the Raiders first-grade side with a dominant performance against the Broncos. He led the Raiders forwards in run meters and capped off his night by scoring a try.

This week, the man with the best mullet in rugby league will want to lay a platform for the Raiders with strong runs and quick play the balls.

Paul Vaughan will be the Dragons go-to man to help them get back into the win column. Vaughan is an ultra-professional - he always gets through a ton of hard work and rarely misses a tackle. He’ll hope to lead the Dragons' pack by example on the weekend.

Head to Head

The Raiders have played the Dragons 32 times with 20 wins,11 losses and one draw.