Date: Saturday May 31, 2014
Venue: Allianz Stadium
Sydney Roosters: Anthony Minichiello (c), Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Aidan Guerra, Sonny Bill Williams, Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Interchange: Dylan Napa, Isaac Liu, Mitchell Aubusson, Remi Casty
Canberra Raiders: Anthony Milford, Reece Robinson, Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton, Sami Sauiluma, Terry Campese (c), Josh McCrone, David Shillington, Glen Buttriss, Brett White, Josh Papalii, Jarrad Kennedy, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Mitch Cornish, Joel Edwards, Paul Vaughan, Dane Tilse, Shannon Boyd
The Sydney Roosters will play host to a resurgent Canberra Raiders outfit on Saturday evening in round twelve NRL action.
The defending premiers have turned their season around after a slow start, boosted by their halves missing the Origin cut in their last start thrashing of the table topping Bulldogs.
The Raiders on the other hand have had a very rough season, although they returned to the winning circle against the Cowboys in round twelve. The North Queensland side was well below full strength in the encounter, and as a result, this game against the defending premiers will be far more revealing.
And what it might highlight could be scary for Canberra’s fans, with the potent Roosters attack likely to show the defensive frailties of the Raider’s outside men have not gone away.
The Cowboys lacked the ability to exploit this area with their weakened side, however a Rooster’s side that has scored 96 points in its previous three wins will know how to find the try line.
The fact that the Raiders have leaked 146 points in their past four games compared to the Roosters letting in just 74, with more than half of that scored in one game, the alarm bells will be ringing for Ricky Stuart.
The major positives for Canberra will be the form of increasing form of their backline.
Jarrod Croker has already scored ten tries this season while winger Reece Robinson has nine.
Milford is equal first in most line breaks in the NRL this season, while Jack Wighton has been carving up since switching back to the centres.
The green machine will need the backline to continue to fire if they are to upset the Roosters, and for that to occur the Raiders forwards will have to win the contest up the middle.
This will be no easy task.
The Raiders forwards chalked up some big numbers last week, but the Roosters forwards were equally impressive, particularly Sonny Bill Williams with 155m and Jared Waerea Hargreaves making 150m.
For the Raiders, Paul Vaughn lead the way with 127m, so the Canberra side will need to improve if they are going to out muscle the Roosters hard men.
As it stands, the Sydney side’s forwards should prove too strong, providing the perfect platform for Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney to set up their own backline for an attacking onslaught.
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