NRL match preview: Canberra Raiders vs Newcastle Knights

Saturday, 12th April
GIO Stadium


Canberra Raiders: Anthony Milford, Reece Robinson, Jarrod Croker, Matt Allwood, Bill Tupou, Jack Wighton, Terry Campese (C), David Shillington, Glen Buttriss, Brett White, Josh Papalii, Jarrad Kennedy, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Josh McCrone, Paul Vaughan, Dane Tilse, Shannon Boyd

Newcastle Knights: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Joseph Leilua, Akuila Uate, Michael Dobson, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Kurt Gidley, Willie Mason, Beau Scott, Robbie Rochow, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Adam Clydsdale, Korbin Sims, Adam Cuthbertson, David Fa’alogo


The Raiders have had an up and down start to the 2014 season, however against a Newcastle side struggling to find any sort of consistency, the Raiders should head into this home match as slight favourites.

The Knights looked to have turned their season around in round 4 when they smashed the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 30-nil, however their troubled display last week in Townsville showed they have a long way to go, seemingly unable to hold the ball at times.

When the two sides met at Hunter Stadium in Newcastle in round two this season, the Raiders defied their recent struggles on the road to claim an impressive 26-20 victory.

The Raiders in Canberra is usually a tough ask but the home side will be looking for a better showing than round three when they were beaten 24-12 by the Gold Coast Titans.

There is a chance that Knights five eighth Jarrod Mullen will make his comeback from a torn hamstring in this game although he was not named in the team on Tuesday.

At the back end of 2013, Mullen at times looked like he had the ball on a string, his deft chips in behind the defensive lines created space and points for the Knights and his early return would be a massive boost.

Whoever it is putting in the kicks, the kick chase will have to be wary, with Raiders live wire fullback Anthony Milford in fine form, with six line breaks already this season.

And while they have been criticised for relying too heavily on Milford in attack, it is hard to slam the Raiders pack, who are second overall in total hit ups through the opening five rounds.

It may be this high work load that is allowing Milford the space he needs to tear apart opposition defences.

And with Terry Campese beginning to find his best form, it looks like the green machine is ready to roll on.


Raiders by 10

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