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The Canberra Raiders will return home aiming for their fourth win in a row when they take on the ladder-leading Penrith Panthers at GIO Stadium this Saturday.

The Raiders winning streak has put them in ninth position on the NRL ladder, tied with the eighth placed Roosters on 22 competition points.

The Raiders have made just the one change for this weekend's match, with Jordan Rapana returning to the side after serving his two-game suspension. Albert Hopoate moves to the extended bench.

Meanwhile, the Panthers will be without star halfback Nathan Cleary through suspension but will be hoping to bounce back after suffering their second defeat of the season last Friday night.

Both sides will lift for such a big match that will have a huge impact on the top four and top eight come the end of the season.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Raiders is number 18 Albert Hopoate
    Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
  • Winger for Raiders is number 2 Nick Cotric
    Winger for Panthers is number 2 Taylan May
  • Centre for Raiders is number 3 Matthew Timoko
    Centre for Panthers is number 3 Izack Tago
  • Centre for Raiders is number 4 Sebastian Kris
    Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
  • Winger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
    Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
  • Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
    Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jaeman Salmon
  • Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Jamal Fogarty
    Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Sean O'Sullivan

Forwards

  • Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
    Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
  • Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Zac Woolford
    Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
  • Prop for Raiders is number 10 Joseph Tapine
    Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 20 Chris Smith
  • Lock for Raiders is number 13 Adam Elliott
    Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo

Interchange

  • Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Tom Starling
    Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Mitch Kenny
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Ryan Sutton
    Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Scott Sorensen
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Emre Guler
    Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer Leniu
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Corey Harawira-Naera
    Interchange for Panthers is number 18 Sunia Turuva

Reserves

  • Replacement for Raiders is number 19 Ata Mariota
    Replacement for Panthers is number 19 Matthew Eisenhuth

Match Officials

  • Referee: Grant Atkins
  • Touch Judge: Dave Munro
  • Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
  • Senior Review Official: Gerard Sutton

Last updated:

Last Time They Met 

The Raiders went down to the Panthers in round seven earlier this season, suffering a 36-6 loss at BlueBet Stadium. 

Key Matchups 

Jordan Rapana v Brian To'o

Jordan Rapana will be looking to make an immediate impact in his return from suspension as he aims up against a fellow representative winger in Brian To’o.

Rapana has had another superb season for the Raiders in 2022 and proved he is still an elite winger when he starred in the Kiwis win over Tonga in the representative round in June. While Rapana has scored just the one try this season, he has grown into a real leader for the side and helped guide young guns like Timoko and Savage.

Despite starting the season with an injury and moving to the right edge, Brian To’o has continued his great form from 2021 into this season. To’o was one of the Blues’ best in this year’s State of Origin series and has carried that form into club land, scoring six tries and averaging 191 running metres per game.

Both of these players have proven to be amongst the best finishers in the competition but can also help their team get on the front foot thanks to their strong ball carries to start sets inside their half. Whoever can set a platform for their respective sides will have a huge impact on who gets the win on Saturday.

Joe Tapine v James Fisher-Harris 

Two of the game's best forwards are set to clash in a blockbuster matchup that could determine Saturday's result, when Joe Tapine comes up against James Fisher-Harris.

Tapine just keeps getting better in 2022 as he continues to prove himself as one of the competition's best players. Tapine has played all 19 matches for the green machine this season and leads the competition for most running metres, average running metres and post contact metres by any forward. Tapine also sits second in the competition for offloads, proving to be a lethal attacking weapon.

Fisher-Harris has also proven to be one of the competition's best forwards by playing a key role in the Panthers domination over the past few seasons. Despite his playing time going down this season, Fisher-Harris still manages to average 144 running metres per game and has become one of the best ball-playing middle forwards in the competition.

The old cliché in rugby league is that forwards win matches and that will be never more apparent than this weekend as the matchup between these two New Zealand internationals will more than likely decide the match.

Elliott Whitehead v Viliame Kikau

The Panthers left edge attack has proven to be one of the best in the competition and Kikau has been a staple of that, but Raiders captain Elliott Whitehead will enjoy the challenge of putting a stop to Kikau’s attacking brilliance this weekend. 

Whitehead has been his reliable self in 2022, continuing to prove why he is among the best back rowers in the NRL. After starting the season at lock, Whitehead moved back to the second row and hasn't looked back since.

With Jarrod Croker spending most of the season on the sidelines due to injury, Whitehead has become a great captain for the green machine after already establishing himself as a true leader in the club.

Kikau has also been reliable this season but has gone to a new level, proving to be the premier back-rower in the competition. After being named in the 2020 and 2021 Dally M teams of the year, Kikau has already put up career high stats in 2022 with eight tries, nine try assists, seven line breaks and 14 line break assists.

Both of these back rowers have been a staple of their sides over the past few seasons and will clash once again. If Whitehead can put a stop to Kikau’s rampage then it will give the Raiders a huge advantage come Saturday.

Head to Head 

Since 1998 the Raiders and Penrith have played 47 matches, with the Panthers having the edge of winning 25 matches to the Raiders 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.