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NRL Match Preview: Raiders v Panthers

The Canberra Raiders will take on the undefeated Penrith Panthers in their round seven clash at BlueBet Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Canberra will be looking to end their three game losing streak when they face the reigning premiers on their home turf and will be keen to bounce back from their disappointing 18-12 loss against the Cowboys last Thursday.

Harry Rushton will become Raider #382 after he was named to make his NRL debut off the interchange bench. Rushton replaces Emre Guler who moves back to the extended bench. 

The Raiders backline has undergone a reshuffle, with Jordan Rapana switching to fullback and Xavier Savage starting on the wing. 

Chanrze Nicoll-Klokstad has been named on the bench. 

Last Time They Met

The Panthers defeated the Raiders 30-10 at BlueBet Stadium back in round five of the 2021 season.

Key Matchups

Joe Tapine v James Fisher-Harris

These two damaging front rowers will be going head to head on Sunday afternoon, both hoping to lead from the front for their respective teams.

Joe Tapine has continued to go from strength to strength this season and is coming off the back of arguably his best game this year with season-highs in both running and post contact metres and also tackles.

Tapine seems to have taken a larger workload on with the New Zealand born prop averaging 58 minutes a game over his past two appearances compared to 44 minutes in the opening four rounds.

James Fisher-Harris is also fresh off one of his best performances so far in 2022 with the Penrith enforcer running for 200 metres and making 30 tackles against the Brisbane Broncos.

Come Sunday afternoon, these two will be fundamental to setting up a platform for their sides to claim victory.

Jack Wighton v Jarome Luai

These two crafty five-eighths both wore the number six jersey for the New South Wales Blues in last year’s State Of Origin series and will be keen to outperform one another to claim that spot once again.

Jack Wighton has been a shining light for the Raiders through the first six rounds of the season and will be sure to impose himself against arguably the best team in the NRL. 

Wighton’s brilliant ability to play eyes up footy and create opportunities for his teammates has been on full display with four line break assists and five forced dropouts so far this year.

Jarome Luai plays a very similar style and has an incredible knack of setting up scoring opportunities on Penrith’s left side of the field. Luai has tallied an impressive five try assists and three line break assists in 2022 which has paved the way for Taylan May and Izack Tago to be in the top three try scorers this season.

There’s no doubt that come Sunday both these unstoppable talents will be putting on a show.

Corey Harawira-Naera v Viliame Kikau

There are many second rowers in the NRL that are hard to handle but they don’t come any more difficult than these two right here.

Corey Harawira-Naera will come full-circle this weekend when he plays his 100th NRL game against the club he debuted for. Harawira-Naera has been lethal on Canberra’s right edge, creating chances for the Raiders and remaining solid as always in defence.

Viliame Kikau on the other hand has continued to be a strike weapon for the Panthers averaging 95 metres a game along with over two offloads. Kikau has struggled with his tackle efficiency but still has plenty of highlight reel hits in him.

It will be a matchup to keep an eye on when these two face off, both not wanting to take a step back and allow the other to gain the upper hand.

Head to Head

The Raiders and Panthers have faced off 46 times and Penrith hold a slight advantage in the head to head winning 24 to Canberra’s 22.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.