There’s an all-important clash at GIO Stadium on Saturday night when Canberra Raiders take on the Parramatta Eels.

LAST TIME OUT

Canberra looked to end a seven year losing streak in Brisbane but fell short by a single point, 13-12.  In wet conditions, it took three minutes into the second half for the opening try of the game to 200 gamer Andrew McCullough.  When Darius Boyd crossed it looked like the Broncos would skip away at 12-2.  When Blake Austin scored with nine minutes to play scores were level.  The unlikely hero for Brisbane was Jordan Kahu, slotting over a field goal five minutes from time to give Brisbane their second win of 2017.

Parramatta Eels never looked in the game against Cronulla Sharks in going down 20-6. Corey Norman returned to the side but made little difference as handling errors let them down.  The closest the Eels got to the Sharks was through David Gower’s try on half time as they went into the sheds 12-6 behind.

KEY BATTLES

Some really good battles across the park starting with the fullbacks Jack Wighton and Bevan French.  Wighton’s last twelve months have been outstanding and French is fast becoming a “once in a generation” outside back with his lightening speed with 21 tries in just 17 NRL matches.

Then you have the like-to-like attributes of Jordan Rapana and Semi Radradra who will have a battle on one side of the field.

Probably where the game is won is at halfback with Aidan Sezer’s kicking game and general play coming up against the sharp and dangerous Corey Norman.  If either of these two are shut down, it might go a long way to determining a winner.

PREDICTION

Canberra have only lost four of the nineteen matches against the Eels at GIO Stadium since 1991, their last coming in 2006.  Their dominance should continue with the Raiders having so much to play for so early in the season having only recorded one win.

Raiders by 12

SQUADS

Canberra Raiders v Parramatta Eels at GIO Stadium, 5.30pm (AEDT) Saturday

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Iosia Soliola 13. Clay Priest 14. Adam Clydsdale 15. Luke Bateman 16. Dave Taylor 17. Joseph Tapine 18. Jordan Turner 19. Scott Sorensen 20. Dunamis Lui 21. Zac Santo

Eels: 1. Bevan French 2. Semi Radradra 3. Michael Jennings 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Josh Hoffman 6. Clint Gutherson 7. Corey Norman 8. Suaia Matagi 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Beau Scott 14. Nathan Brown 15. Daniel Alvaro 16. Frank Pritchard 17. Siosaia Vave 18. David Gower 19. Peni Terepo 20. Jeff Robson 21. George Jennings