Date: Sunday May 24 2015
Venue: GIO Stadium
Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton, 2. Edrick Lee, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Sisa Waqa, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Blake Austin, 7. Mitch Cornish, 8. Paul Vaughan, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 11. Josh Papalii, 12. Iosia Soliola, 13. Shaun Fensom, 14. Kurt Baptiste, 15. Jarrad Kennedy, 16. David Shillington, 17. Shannon Boyd
Bulldogs: 1. Sam Perrett 2. Curtis Rona 3. Tim Lafai 4. Chase Stanley 5. Corey Thompson 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham (c) 11. Frank Pritchard 12. Tony Williams 13. Greg Eastwood Interchange: 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Tim Browne 16. Lloyd Perrett 17. Antonio Kaufusi 19. Danny Fualalo 22. Herman Ese’ese
Canberra will be hoping to give their fans a home victory this weekend as they take on a depleted Canterbury outfit on Sunday.
In the Raiders four appearances at GIO Stadium this year they have only trumped once when they thrashed Gold Coast Titans 56-16. Previously they went down by four points to Melbourne, surrendered a huge lead to the Dragons in round three and were soundly beaten by New Zealand Warriors a week earlier.
However this side is running sixth on the ladder despite losing at WIN Stadium last Sunday. Ricky Stuart keeping the faith in his squad who aren’t affected by next Wednesday’s State of Origin. Sam Williams is still on the sick list after his collapsed lung a couple of weeks back. Joel Edwards the only other concern with a foot injury with no date set for his return.
The Raiders chances of winning at home for their faithful is boosted by Canterbury’s poor form leading into this game. The Bulldogs were competitive for the first forty last week against Sydney Roosters before going down 24-10. Their last victory coming back on Friday April 17 when they accounted for Manly 28-16 at ANZ Stadium. The Bulldogs only win in their last seven matches.
It’s ironic that the Bulldogs are heavily affected by Origin with the club fourteenth on the ladder. Josh Morris, Trent Hodkinson, Josh Jackson and David Klemmer were all selected in Laurie Daley’s Blues squad. Moses Mbye has experienced some success in the halves and will play in the seven jumper alongside Origin discard Josh Reynolds. Tim Lafai and Chase Stanley are paired in the centres and Tony Williams will start in the second row. Outside Sam Kasiano and Tim Browne, the Bulldogs bench is inexperienced with Danny Fualalo and Herman Ese’ese part of a six man bench.
Canberra can stay in the top eight with victory. A solid forward pack with Shaun Fensom, Frank Paul-Nuuausala and Josh Papalii will hold their own against James Graham, Greg Eastwood and Tony Williams. Jordan Rapana is one to watch out wide for the Raiders having scored five tries in eight appearances this year.
Another loss for the Bulldogs will be another dent in their finals aspirations. Josh Reynolds needs to concentrate on his game with a little less aggression if he wants to fight his way back into Origin calculations. He needs to make this week count. It might be Tim Lafai who gives the Bulldogs their best chance of winning. He’s not quite at the same form of 2014 but it only takes one game for things to turn around.
Since 2008 Canterbury has the slight advantage with six wins to Canberra’s five in the head-to-head. In their last meeting at GIO Stadium it was Canterbury who got the two competition points with a double to Drury Low on their way to a 22-14 victory.
Canberra should be able to take advantage of an out of form Canterbury and record their second home win of 2015. Raiders by 10.
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