Date: Sunday, 3rd August
Venue: GIO Stadium
Kick-off: 2:00pm (local time)
Canberra Raiders: Anthony Milford, Reece Robinson, Jarrod Croker, Jarrad Kennedy, Sami Sauiluma, Terry Campese (c), Josh McCrone, David Shillington, Glen Buttriss, Brett White, Josh Papalii, Joel Edwards, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Kurt Baptiste, Paul Vaughan, Dane Tilse, Shannon Boyd
New Zealand Warriors: Sam Tomkins, Ngani Laumape, Konrad Hurrell, Dane Nielsen, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Nathan Friend, Suaia Matagi, Ben Henry, Simon Mannering (c), Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Feleti Mateo, Ben Matulino, Sam Rapira, Thomas Leuluai, Tuimoala Lolohea, Sione Lousi
In this round of the National Rugby League we’ll see Iron Man and Captain America go head-to-head, Wolverine battle it out with some Premiership dark horses, and Roman mythology versus Greek mythology during the Titans and Cowboys (Thor) game.
Then we have the Canberra Raiders and New Zealand Warriors. The two words ‘Canberra Raiders’ have become increasingly anti-climatic over the past season, and especially after last week. But it may only take a win in this week’s fixture against the NZ Warriors to drag some serious manipulation away from the White House State.
The NZ Warriors have been tipped by many as finals contenders. With one of the best backline’s in the league, a top notch forward pack and a halfback that produces more fancy footwork on a weekly basis than seen in the entire Footloose movie, they are cool, comfortable and offer a slick-looking football style when at home, but struggle to keep up consistency when travelling is involved.
Their loss to the on fire Manly Sea Eagles at home last week had many come to conclusion that the loss was because of Shaun Johnson’s injury, an excuse that seems quite insignificant providing the Warriors still played a cracker of a game. The Warriors have announced powerful forward Feleti Mateo to return to the squad who will easily bring the extra muscle to the squad that may have been missing last week.
The Canberra Raiders showed a glimmer of hope in the final minutes of their fixture on Monday night. Playmakers Jarrod Croker, Josh McCrone and Reece Robinson kicked their attacking game into gear and Anthony Milford’s late dash for the try line had us all in acceptance of why Brisbane really needed another fullback.
Though for Canberra it should be all about the defence. Last week gaps, poor judgment, positioning and overall sloppiness cost them the game before the end of the first half, and it only got worse into the second half as their forward pack showed signs of fatigue and the tries poured in.
The Raiders enter this upcoming fixture with a lineup unchanged, but with a nothing-to-lose attitude as Cronulla and Newcastle thrive off their recent upsets. Canberra will risk it all in fear of the one trophy they haven’t clenched with two hands since their inaugural 1982 season.
It’s simply do or die for the Canberra Raiders and their season.
This could be better than any superhero movie I’ve ever seen.
Canberra by 2.