The Toyota Forklift Raiders will take on the St George Illawarra Dragons this Friday at WIN Stadium in Wollongong as they look to continue their winning ways.
The Raiders will seek to win their third consecutive win as they take on the 16th placed Dragons at 8pm on Friday night.
The Raiders will be confident heading into this weekend’s matchup after a hard-fought 26 – 22 win over the Gold Coast Titans last Saturday at GIO Stadium Canberra.
The Dragons will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 52 – 16 defeat to the Cronulla Sharks last weekend.
Ricky Stuart has been forced to make changes to the lineup with Corey Horsburgh set to make his Queensland debut and Pasami Saulo out due to a head knock sustained last week.
Ata Mariota shifts to lock to replace Horsburgh and Emre Guler comes into the starting side at prop.
Trey Mooney and Peter Hola are both called into the side via the interchange.
Ryan Carr’s team also has multiple changes ahead of the game on Friday.
Moses Suli returns from a concussion with Tautau Moga making way. Tyrell Sloan is out with a calf injury, being replaced by Paul Turner who will make his club debut.
Ben Hunt is away on Origin duty so Talatau Amone and Jayden Sullivan will pair up in the halves.
Dan Russell is set to make his NRL debut as he joins the side via the interchange.
Match: Dragons v Raiders
Round 19 -
Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Paul TurnerFullback for Raiders is number 1 Sebastian Kris
Winger for Dragons is number 2 Mathew FeagaiWinger for Raiders is number 2 Albert Hopoate
Centre for Dragons is number 3 Mosese SuliCentre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod Croker
Centre for Dragons is number 4 Zac LomaxCentre for Raiders is number 4 Matthew Timoko
Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele RavalawaWinger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Talatau AmoneFive-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Jayden SullivanHalfback for Raiders is number 7 Jamal Fogarty
Prop for Dragons is number 8 Francis MoloProp for Raiders is number 10 Joseph Tapine
Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Jacob LiddleHooker for Raiders is number 9 Zac Woolford
Prop for Dragons is number 10 Blake LawrieProp for Raiders is number 13 Ata Mariota
2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Ben Murdoch-Masila2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young
2nd Row for Dragons is number 22 Billy Burns2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
Lock for Dragons is number 13 Jack De BelinLock for Raiders is number 18 Matt Frawley
Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Moses MbyeInterchange for Raiders is number 8 Emre Guler
Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Michael MoloInterchange for Raiders is number 14 Tom Starling
Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Toby CouchmanInterchange for Raiders is number 15 Trey Mooney
Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Dan RussellInterchange for Raiders is number 17 Peter Hola
Replacement for Dragons is number 19 Ryan CouchmanReplacement for Raiders is number 16 Nick Cotric
- Referee: Peter Gough
- Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
- Senior Review Official: Gerard Sutton
Last Time They Met
The two sides previously met in round seven this season, with the Green Machine recording a 20 – 14 victory due to a second-half comeback at GIO Stadium Canberra.
Key Match Ups
Joe Tapine v Blake Lawrie
This will be a must-watch matchup as two workhorses collide this Friday with the goal to demolish their opponents.
Eyes will be on Joe Tapine after his massive 181 metres performance last weekend against the formidable Titans forward pack.
Tapine has recorded a 95.3% tackle efficiency over the 15 games he has played this season.
Tapine will be a significant part of the Raiders’ gameplan this Friday as they look to overcome the absence of fellow forwards Corey Horsburgh and Josh Papali’i.
Blake Lawrie has been an important player for the Dragons side and has been named captain for this game.
He has averaged 120 running meters per game with a career-high 31 tackle breaks so far this season.
This head-to-head matchup will be difficult to miss as the two forwards will look to take each other head-on.
Matt Timoko v Zac Lomax
This will be a tough matchup for these two in-form players as they face off against each other in a must-win match.
Matt Timoko is on-pace to have a career best season as he continues to devastate defences, amassing seven linebreaks and six tries so far this season.
Timoko has been a critical piece for the Raiders this season in both defence and attack.
He will line up against Zac Lomax, the leading point scorer for the Dragons.
Lomax has scored four tries in addition to four try-assists across the 14 games he has played this season.
Both players will be sure to put on a show as they look to get the better of each other.
Elliott Whitehead v Jaydn Su'a
This matchup will be one you won’t want to miss as two of the biggest hard hitters square up against each other.
Elliott Whitehead has been an influential member of the Green Machine, playing 180 games and serving as captain.
Whitehead has accrued 12 offloads along with a 90% tackle efficiency throughout the 2023 campaign.
Jaydn Su’a is renowned around the league for his hard-hitting runs that make him a force to reckon with.
Su’a is averaging 37.8 post-contact metres per game, along with 19 offloads, across 13 games this season.
Both players will play a critical role for their team this Friday and will look to keep their opponents in check.
Head to Head
In the 37 games played between the Raiders and the Dragons, the Raiders have come out the better side 23 times.