The Canberra Raiders will look to make it four wins a row this weekend when they take on the Newcastle Knights in a double-header at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday night.
The Raiders are coming off a gritty 12-10 win over a top-four Parramatta Eels outfit last Thursday night, in what was an impressive display from the green machine.
Meanwhile, the Knights will look to escape a three-game losing streak after suffering heavy defeats to both the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters.
The Raiders seem to be adapting to the “hub life” well since relocating to Queensland, putting together some amazing performances and keeping their finals football hopes alive.
Behind the Limelight: Episode 19
Last Time They Met
The Newcastle Knights recorded a 24-16 win over the Canberra Raiders at McDonald’s Park in Wagga Wagga in round nine of this season.
Joseph Tapine v Daniel Saifiti
Joseph Tapine has stood up as the leader of the Raider’s forward pack over the last few weeks and it’s transitioned to three straight wins for the green machine.
Tapine has averaged 165 running metres and 27 tackles over the last three weeks in some enormous performances from the Kiwi international forward.
Although, he will have his work cut-out for him this weekend when he meets an in-form origin prop in Daniel Saifiti, who has been incredible for the Knights this season.
Saifiti is a workhorse front-rower who enjoys rolling up the sleeves and taking plenty of hit-ups. Tapine will need to stand up in the opening minutes of this contest and look to win the ruck for his team to go a long way in clinching their important fourth straight win.
Josh Hodgson v Jayden Brailey
Josh Hodgson has been incredible over the last month to six weeks for the green machine, being pivotal in attack but ever-so reliable in defence.
Hodgson leads from the front and it’s his leadership and communication to teammates which proves such value to the Raider’s success.
Similarly, Newcastle captain and hooker Jayden Brailey, continually shows up with effort in attack and defence.
Both Hodgson and Brailey average over 40 tackles a game over the course of the season and like to run the ball in the back end of games, when the defence opens up.
Keep an eye on both number nine’s as they will both play a significant role in either team’s win on the weekend.
Jordan Rapana v Kalyn Ponga
Jordan Rapana is coming off a man-of-the-match performance last weekend in the side’s gritty win over the Parramatta Eels.
Rapana who usually lines up on the right wing for the Raiders stood in as fullback for an injured Xavier Savage and tore the game apart with his incredible running game and his try saving tackle on Maika Sivo to seal the win for Canberra.
Rapana will match up against Queensland representative fullback Kalyn Ponga who will look to break the Newcastle losing-streak. Ponga will also look to back up his previous performance against Canberra when he led the Knights to a comeback win in round nine this season.
Ponga, who has suffered concussions over the past couple of weeks, will look to put those performances behind him and stand up for this pivotal clash which may decide the remainder of Newcastle’s season.
Enjoy this battle between two strong, creative fullbacks who will look to do anything to walk away with the two competition points this Saturday night.
Head to Head
This weekend’s clash will decide which club takes the lead in their head-to-head match-up with both Newcastle and Canberra winning 19 games each and drawing twice in their 40 matches played. This result gives each team another reason to add a win to the season tally with only limited rounds of football remaining for 2021.