The Raiders haven’t beaten the Roosters since 2013 and will be looking to break a run of three consecutive losses when the two teams meet at GIO Stadium on Saturday. With the Roosters missing key players such as Pearce, Warea-Hargreaves and Cordner, the Green Machine will be quietly confident that they can claim their second win of the season.
Last time out
The Raiders managed to hold off a surging Penrith team in 36-degree heat last Saturday. Despite both Austin and Sezer being ruled out for the next few weeks, it was a performance that would have left coach Ricky Stuart pleased after seeing his side lose plenty of games from tight situations last season. The forwards, in particular, toiled hard, laying the platform for Sezer in particular to control the game. Jack Wighton also impressed at fullback providing some damaging runs, good defence and except for his last attempt, was good underneath the high ball.
The Roosters were particularly poor in the first half in their 42-10 loss to the Rabbitohs. The Bondi-based club wasn’t disciplined enough as they gave away penalties. Unable to get into the opposition 20 until the half hour mark of the match, the Roosters will need to show more control with and without the football. While the new look backline had limited chances to shine Hastings and Kenny-Dowall were impressive as they toiled against the Rabbitohs defence.
The battle between props Shannon Boyd and Kane Evans will be where the match is won.
23-year-old Boyd has place himself on a booze-ban as he tries to play more minutes for the Raiders. With another warm day forecast for the nation’s capital on Saturday, Boyd’s stamina will be an added boost for the Raider’s.
The man deputising for Warea-Hargreaves, Kane Evans, had a difficult match against the Bunnies and will be looking to increase his output on the weekend. With Sio Siua Taukeiaho impressing from the bench last week, Evans may be looking over his shoulder hoping to prove a point to Roosters coach Trent Robinson. If Evans does that, the Roosters’ player makers will have a chance.
With both clubs missing their first choice halfbacks, Sam Williams and Jackson Hastings will need to be able to organise their team’s attacks.
Williams finds himself the most experience half from either side named for Saturday’s match and will attempt to slot seamlessly into the structure’s the team showed against the Panthers. While only young, Williams is out of contract at the end of the season and will want to show coach Ricky Stuart that he deserves a new contract.
Hastings was one of the only positives to come out of the Roosters last game. The young halfback set up both tries for the Roosters and his attacking intent was exciting to watch. Although he made 11 kicks in play last week, he will need to make sure a few more of them find touch to keep his forwards fresh.
The Raiders forward pack will be too strong. Despite Austin and Sezer missing due to injury, they should beat a Roosters team missing plenty of leaders.
Canberra Raiders by 14.
Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Edrick Lee 3. Jarrod Croker (c) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Lachlan Croker 7. Sam Williams 8. Shannon Boyd 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Frank-Paul Nuuausala 11. Josh Papalli 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Shaun Fensom Interchange 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Sia Soliola 16. Paul Vaughan 17. Jeff Lima
Roosters: 1 Blake Ferguson 2 Daniel Tupou 3 Dale Copley 4 Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5 Latrell Mitchell 6 Jayden Nikorima 7 Jackson Hastings 8 Kane Evans 9 Jake Friend (c) 10 Dylan Napa 11 Aidan Guerra 12 Mitchell Aubusson 13 Isaac Liu Interchange 14 Sio Siua Taukeiaho 15 Sam Moa 16 Ian Henderson 17 Vincent Leuluai 19 Joe Burgess*
*Extended Bench – One player to drop off