The Canberra Raiders will once again travel to regional New South Wales this weekend to take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Sunday afternoon at Apex Oval in Dubbo.
The Raiders come into the game looking to extend their winning streak to three after defeating the Cronulla Sharks 30-10 in Magic Round over the weekend.
However, South Sydney will be keen to improve from their narrow victory over the Warriors, with New Zealand’s second half comeback almost stealing the win.
Canberra will welcome back Jack Wighton for the clash, with the five-eighth returning after serving his two weeks suspension.
Matt Frawley will partner Wighton in the halves, while Zac Woolford retains his spot in the side after an impressive NRL debut last weekend.
Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Blake TaaffeFullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex JohnstonWinger for Raiders is number 2 Nick Cotric
Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Jaxson PauloCentre for Raiders is number 3 Matthew Timoko
Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Campbell GrahamCentre for Raiders is number 4 Sebastian Kris
Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Taane MilneWinger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody WalkerFive-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Lachlan IliasHalfback for Raiders is number 19 Brad Schneider
Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Tevita TatolaProp for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien CookHooker for Raiders is number 9 Zac Woolford
Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas BurgessProp for Raiders is number 10 Joseph Tapine
2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Keaon Koloamatangi2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young
2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Trent Peoples2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Jai ArrowLock for Raiders is number 18 Adam Elliott
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Kodi NikorimaInterchange for Raiders is number 14 Tom Starling
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Siliva HaviliInterchange for Raiders is number 16 Xavier Savage
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Liam KnightInterchange for Raiders is number 17 Corey Horsburgh
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 24 Hame SeleInterchange for Raiders is number 20 Harry Rushton
Replacement for Rabbitohs is number 19 Isaiah TassReplacement for Raiders is number 13 Corey Harawira-Naera
- Referee: Peter Gough
- Touch Judge: Jon Stone
- Touch Judge: Matt Noyen
- Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall
Last Time They Met
South Sydney defeated the Raiders 34-20 at GIO Stadium back in round eight last season.
Jordan Rapana v Alex Johnston
These two wingers bring plenty of valuable experience to each of their sides and will be looking to continue their strong form so far this season.
Rapana has been averaging 110 running metres and just under four tackle breaks a game in his eight games this season. While he has only one try so far this season, Rapana has remained a constant threat throughout each game and will be looking to get over the try-line again this weekend.
Alex Johnston has continued to be a reliable strike weapon out on the Rabbitohs left edge, having scored seven tries already this season and sits sixth on the try scorer leaderboard.
Come Sunday afternoon, we are guaranteed to see these two put on a show and most likely score an important four pointer.
Jack Wighton v Cody Walker
You won’t find many five-eighth match-ups better than this one, with both players having elite experience in Origin, multiple finals games and grand finals.
Jack Wighton has spent the last fortnight on the sideline due to suspension but will be a significant boost to the Raiders when he returns this weekend. Wighton has been in arguably career best form, running for almost 100 metres a game and causing headaches for oppositions with his offloading and kicking game.
Cody Walker has struggled at times to start the season but always has the ability to flip a switch and perform at a high standard. Walker’s kicking game has gone to another level averaging a career high 167 kicking metres a game.
There’s no doubt that this weekend these two playmakers will be instrumental in the outcome of the game and will do everything in their power to get their team across the line.
Tom Starling v Damien Cook
This matchup will see two of the best running hookers in the NRL go head to head at Apex Oval, with both players hoping to use this destructive asset to break the game open.
Tom Starling has become one of the most reliable hookers in the competition on both sides of the game. Starling’s defence this year has been incredible with a 94 percent tackle efficiency and in attack he has been the driving force behind many of Canberra’s scoring opportunities.
Cook has also shown how special he is this season with the veteran hooker averaging just under 80 running metres a game and has four tries for the season. His defensive presence has been felt in all ten of his games this year with Cook having a tackling efficiency of 97 percent.
Both players are integral to their side’s success but on Sunday afternoon only one team will win and it may be off the back of one of these crafty players.
Head to Head
The Raiders and Rabbitohs have faced off 30 times since 1998 and Canberra have a slight advantage having won 16 compared to Souths’ 14.