Date: Saturday 10th May
Venue: GIO Stadium
Kick-Off: 3 Pm
Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton 2 Edrick Lee 3 Jarrod Croker (c) 4 Sisa Waqa 5 Jordan Rapana 6 Blake Austin 7 Sam Williams 8 Paul Vaughan 9 Josh Hodgson 10 Frank Paul-Nuuausala 11 Josh Papalii 12 Iosia Soliola 13 Shaun Fensom Int: 14 Kurt Baptiste 15 Jarrad Kennedy 16 Mark Nicholls 17 Shannon Boyd
Titans: 1 Josh Hoffman 2 Anthony Don 3 James Roberts 4 William Zillman 5 David Mead 6 Aidan Sezer 7 Kane Elgey 8 Luke Douglas 9 Kierran Moseley 10 Nate Myles 11 Ryan James 12 Dave Taylor 13 Lachlan Burr. Interchange: 14 Matt White 15 Edward Pettybourne 16 Mark Ioane 17 Daniel Mortimer 18 Davin Crampton.
Who could have predicted this? Nine rounds into the season, and the Titans and Raiders are two of the in-form teams of the competition. The match between the two promises to be a close one, as the Titans head into the clash on the back of a three game winning streak, while the Raiders will be feeling confident following consecutive upsets against Top eight opponents, including their recent dismantling of the reigning premiers, the Rabbitohs.
There are several changes to the Titans side that defeated the Warriors a fortnight ago, as Dave Taylor returns to the starting side following a one-match suspension. Greg Bird’s dangerous tackle in the ANZAC test has ruled him out of this clash, resulting in Lachlan Burr shifting from the bench into lock.
Daniel Mortimer’s return from a wrist injury has come at a fortunate time, as he will interchange at hooker with Kierran Moseley, following the injury of starting hooker Beau Falloon.
Front rower Mark Ioane also joins the interchange bench, while utility Davin Crampton has been named at 18th man, giving him his first opportunity to earn an NRL debut after starring in the Intrust Super Cup for several years.
The Raiders have named an unchanged lineup from the side that defeated the Rabbitohs, with Jordan Rapana set to bravely play despite fracturing his cheekbone.
It is yet to be seen if the break throughout the Rep Round will halt the momentum of both teams, however Raiders fans have plenty to look forward to following the standout performances of some of their players over the weekend.
Recruit Blake Austin proved that he is the halve that the Raiders had been searching for, scoring a scintillating hat trick in the City vs. Country game over the weekend. His form throughout the season has thrust him into NSW selection discussion, and his battle against the Titans young gun halfback Kane Elgey could very well dictate the winner of the match.
In another exciting personal battle, the blistering James Roberts will line up against Raider’s centre Jarrod Croker, a matchup that took place in the City vs Country game. Jarrod Croker managed to get the better of Roberts on that day, as he scored a try to assist his team in victory, and the in-form Titans centre will surely be hungry to get the better of his opposite number on Saturday.
Based on history, the Titans look to have the advantage heading into the clash as they have won 3 games out of 4 on the road so far this season, while the Raiders are yet to win a game at their home ground. The Titans are also no strangers to victory at GIO Stadium, defeating the Raiders in every encounter at the venue since 2011.
However, this will only inspire the red hot Raiders even more, and on the back of their rampaging forward packs work up the middle, the Canberra back line should be classy enough to over-come the Titans in a close encounter.
Prediction Raiders by 4