The Raiders came from behind to beat the Warriors 20-8 in Canberra, after second half dominance. Playing at home again, the Raiders will host the Sea Eagles. Manly managed to come back from 30-12 to close the game against Melbourne, but failed to steal a win in a 30-26 loss.
Last Time Out
The Warriors arguably gifted the Raiders their win with consistent penalties, leading to the Raiders quick start in the second half and overall fightback. An early try from Ryan Hoffman, and a penalty kicked by Shaun Johnson saw the Warriors have a slender 8-6 lead after 24 minutes. Missed opportunities by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Solomone Kata meant the Warriors would have nothing to show for their great work in the first 40, and the Raiders eventual takeover of the game would catch them out. A penalty followed by two quick tries stunned the Warriors, and the Raiders right edge attack once again proved to be their weapon against their opposition. A late penalty put the game arguably beyond doubt and the Warriors walked away feeling they had every chance to win the game. Both sides had an unimpressive completion percentage, sitting below 80 percent. A lot of errors gifted each side the ball, but more so the Warriors. Both teams will need to improve coming up against tough teams this weekend.
The Sea Eagles looked to bounce back from a disappointing result against the Dragons, and at home against the Storm was the perfect test to re-surge their season. Instead of being exposed from mistakes, Melbourne completely dominated Manly in the first 40 minutes, scoring five total tries in an attacking powerhouse. Manly lacked any sort of fightback, and seemed lost in the first half. After 20 minutes the Storm scored five tries, but only managed an 18-0 lead with Cameron Smith’s kicking being off. In the second half however, Manly fought back valiantly, with a try just before half time and two more in the second. Melbourne still managed to play efficient football regardless of their second half struggles, having a 91% completion rate. Manly have had lopsided performances in different halves for the season, and their first half woes put them in a horrible situation. They looked a different side in the second stanza, and all of sudden their attack clicked and Melbourne was on the back foot. In order to take down the Raiders, they need to find a consistent performance, with their defence needing to be near perfect to handle a red hot attack in the capital.
Dylan Walker’s rise in form has primed him for a NSW Origin selection, and a battle with Jarrod Croker looks on the cards. As much as Leilua is creating a menacing right edge attack with Jordon Rapana, the left side centre and captain is the glue of the backline and has been for some time now.
Croker has become the backbone of Canberra’s success since his rise to first grade glory. Defensively he is a terrific asset, and his running game is also something well treasured. Combining that along with the in-form newcomer Nick Cotric forms an overall scary backline that will once again be good this week. Dylan Walker himself has begun to look like his old South Sydney self. Walker’s production has been good so far this season, sitting third in tries scored running metres for Manly this season. Since their win over the Roosters, the Sea Eagles have had two average performances where Walker has dipped in form. If anyone along with Cherry-Evans in the backline needs to fire, it is certainly Walker with his explosive nature, and Manly will thrive if that happens.
I still have faith in what Manly can produce, and the quality in their side can be a top four (on paper). Canberra’s attack will be without a doubt firing, so their defence will have to produce similar to what they did last week to have a near perfect performance. Manly will need to be at their best, and then some. Raiders by 10
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. Elliot Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine 14. Adam Clydsdale 15. Luke Bateman 16. Dunamis Lui 17. Iosia Soliola 18. Dave Taylor 19. Jordan Turner 20. Makahesi Makatoa 21. Lachlan Croker
Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lewis Brown 15. Jackson Hastings 16. Darcy Lussick 17. Addin Fonua-Blake 18. Nate Myles 19. Cameron Cullen 20. Matthew Wright 21. Shaun Lane