The Raiders have put together back to back wins for the first time since round two this year and will look to make it three in a row when they take on a powerful Paramatta Eels side at Cbus Super Stadium this Thursday at 7:50pm.
The Raiders will be full of confidence after beating two top eight sides in the last two weeks, but the Eels are a different challenge altogether. Paramatta are third on the ladder and already have proven themselves a premiership contender this season with victories over the Storm and Roosters.
The Raiders are only one win out of the eight, and a win against the Eels will provide the Green Machine with a massive confidence boost going into the final quarter of the season.
It was the Raiders’ defence and ball control that proved the difference over the last fortnight. Against the Sharks, the Raiders’ last two tries resulted from great defence forcing mistakes.
The key to victory for the Raiders this week will be playing mistake-free rugby league in their own half and keeping the Eels under defensive pressure. If the Raiders do this, they’ll start to find scoring opportunities as the game wears on.
Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton GuthersonFullback for Raiders is number 1 Jordan Rapana
Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika SivoWinger for Raiders is number 2 Harley Smith-Shields
Centre for Eels is number 3 Will PenisiniCentre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod Croker
Centre for Eels is number 4 Waqa BlakeCentre for Raiders is number 4 Sebastian Kris
Winger for Eels is number 5 Blake FergusonWinger for Raiders is number 5 Semi Valemei
Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan BrownFive-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Matt Frawley
Halfback for Eels is number 7 Jake ArthurHalfback for Raiders is number 7 Sam Williams
Prop for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-GillardProp for Raiders is number 10 Emre Guler
Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed MahoneyHooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior PauloProp for Raiders is number 17 Joseph Tapine
2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Isaiah Papali'i2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Corey Harawira-Naera
2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Ryan Matterson2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Hudson Young
Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan BrownLock for Raiders is number 13 Ryan Sutton
Interchange for Eels is number 14 Marata NiukoreInterchange for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
Interchange for Eels is number 15 Shaun LaneInterchange for Raiders is number 14 Tom Starling
Interchange for Eels is number 16 Oregon KaufusiInterchange for Raiders is number 15 Matthew Timoko
Interchange for Eels is number 17 Will SmithInterchange for Raiders is number 16 Iosia Soliola
Reserve for Eels is number 19 Bryce CartwrightReserve for Raiders is number 19 Ryan James
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Peter Gough
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
Last Time They Met
The Raiders lost to the Eels 35-10 in round six this year at GIO Stadium.
Jordan Rapana v Clint Gutherson
Jordan Rapana comes into the fullback ole after young-gun Xavier Savage was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.
Rapana continues to impress for the Raiders. The veteran currently leads the Raiders in both tries and line breaks, and his work rate coming out of his own end is second to none.
His experience and communication for a youthful-looking Raiders backline will be essential for the Raiders if they’re going to break through the Eels defence, which is the third-best in the NRL.
Opposing Rapana will be Paramatta’s talismanic fullback, Clint Gutherson. ‘King Gutho’ has been the beating heart of the Eels in their rise to premiership contenders.
His ability to make match-winning plays for the Eels is uncanny, and Gutherson is always a threat in attack, whether he is running the ball or setting up players around him.
Coach's Comment: Stuart on Savage, Eels clash and crossing paths with the opposition
Corey Harawira-Naera v Isaiah Papali’i
Corey Harawira-Naera continues to improve weekly and looks more and more like a game-breaking forward as the season progresses.
Harawira-Naera has expectational footwork and rugby league instincts. Last week, his offload to set up the Raiders first try with three defenders hanging off him was simply outstanding.
The Raiders will need his offloading ability to help create scoring opportunities against a quality Eels’ defence. Harawira-Naera also has an impressive burst of speed and is incredibly dangerous running the ball in the open field.
Isaiah Papali’i has been one of the finds of the season. The former New Zealand Warrior has come in leaps and bounds since arriving at Paramatta. Papali’i averages over 150 run meters per game and has scored seven tries already this season.
Having Papali’i on one edge and Ryan Matterson on the other has been one of the keys to Parramatta’s success this season. If the Raiders can take away their effectiveness, it will go a long way to blunting the Eels attack.
Head to Head
The Raiders and Eels have played 62 times. The Raiders have won 31, lost 30 and drawn once.