The Raiders are playing for pride as they take on the ladder leading Roosters at GIO Stadium.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Raiders have lost 4 consecutive matches. A narrow loss to Cronulla, a thrashing by the Storm, a capitulation against the Panthers and a 22-20 loss to the Tigers.
To the Raiders credit they were solid defensively against the Tigers. They conceded 3 of 4 tries within a 10 minute period when BJ Leilua was in the sin-bin. The match may have turned out differently had they been able to defend with a full line-up. However as things turned out, they came close but couldn’t complete a comeback.
The Roosters form is the complete opposite, currently on a 5 match winning streak. Even without Luke Keary for the last 2 weeks, they’ve continued to maintain strong form. Their most recent victory, a hard fought 18-14 victory over the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The win over the premiership favourites propelled them into top spot at their expense.
Emre Guler makes his first grade debut off the bench. Brad Abbey and Nick Cotric swap between wing and fullback.
With Waerea-Hargreaves out for 4 weeks with broken ribs, Dylan Napa moves back into the starting side. Nat Butcher joins the interchange.
Raiders against themselves.
At times it’s like their opposition doesn’t need to do anything but wait and the Raiders defeat themselves. Whether an act of poor discipline or defensive decision, the Raiders are the masters at losing the un-losable. If they can keep their composure for the 80 minutes, they certainly have enough strike power to trouble the Roosters but’s it a big if.
Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo.
The two props are departing at the end of the year. There’s no real reason Ricky needs to continue playing them but since he is, they owe it to the club to finish the season strong. Good performances from them are the only way the Raiders have a chance of causing an upset.
There’ll be no upset if Cooper Cronk has anything to say about it though. With Keary out, he’s taken on the additional responsibility with ease. As the forwards set up the pins, Cronk is going to be knocking them down. The Roosters are likely to win but Cronk is going to determine by how much.
The Raiders haven’t defeated any Top 8 team this year.
1 Brad Abbey, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Elliott Whitehead, 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Sam Williams, 8 Dunamis Lui, 9 Josh Hodgson (c), 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Joseph Tapine, 12 Iosia Soliola, 13 Josh Papalii
14 Emre Guler, 15 Luke Bateman, 16 Siliva Havili, 17 Junior Paulo
18 Liam Knight, 19 Jack Murchie, 20 Makahesi Makatoa, 21 Michael Oldfield
1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Ryan Matterson, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Dylan Napa, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Isaac Liu, 13 Victor Radley
14 Nat Butcher, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Mitchell Aubusson, 17 Sean O’Sullivan
18 Sitili Tupouniua, 19 Kurt Baptiste, 20 Paul Momirovski, 21 Lindsay Collins
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday August 19th
Venue: GIO Stadium