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2015 NRL Match Preview: Sydney Roosters vs Canberra Raiders

Date: Sunday, March 29

Venue: Allianz Stadium

Kick-Off: 2pm

Roosters 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2 Daniel Tupou 3 Michael Jennings 4 Blake Ferguson 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6 James Maloney 7 Mitchell Pearce (c) 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9 Matt McIlwrick 10 Sam Moa 11 Boyd Cordner 12 Aidan Guerra 13 Isaac Liu Interchange 14 Mitchell Aubusson 15 Dylan Napa 16 Kane Evans 17 Sio Siua Taukeiaho 18 Willie Manu 19 Lagi Setu

Raiders 1 Jack Wighton 2 Sisa Waqa 3 Jarrod Croker (c) 4 Edrick Lee 5 Jordan Rapana
6 Blake Austin 7 Mitchell Cornish 8 Josh Papalii 9 Josh Hodgson 10 Dane Tilse 11 Jarrad Kennedy 12 Iosia Soliola 13 Shaun Fensom Interchange 14 Glen Buttriss 15 Frank-Paul Nuuausala 16 Paul Vaughan 17 Shannon Boyd

Preview The Sydney Roosters clash with the Canberra Raiders on Sunday afternoon at Allianz Stadium with the Roosters looking to build on their impressive 20-12 win over the Penrith Panthers. For the Raiders, it’s about learning how to play for the full 80 minutes, not just the first 20. Against the St George Illawarra Dragons, the Raiders blew them away early, racing to an 18-0 lead with Blake Austin in irresistible form. The Dragons came out a different team in the second half and the Raiders fell away badly, going down 22-20. Blake Ferguson plays against his former club (2011-2013, 60 games, 36 tries) on the back of an excellent game against the Panthers, finishing with 2 tries, 3 line breaks and 178 running metres; the kind of form that saw him play his only game for NSW back in 2013. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is also warming to his fullback role, running for 252 metres against the Panthers while back rowers Boyd Cordner and Aidan Guerra had strong games. The Raiders showed us in the first 20 minutes against the Dragons that they are capable of scoring great tries, albeit on the back of a number of Dragons’ errors. When their opposition found their groove, the Raiders struggled, going the final 62 minutes without scoring a try. Against the Roosters they will unlikely have the luxury of their opposition dropping simple balls and kicking out on the full from general play and from the kick-off, so they need to be switched on from the start and work hard for the entire 80 minutes. Working in their favour is the fact that the Roosters are completing just 79% of their sets in 2015 and have made a whopping 37 errors. The Raiders need to be patient and be prepared to work hard for the entire game. The Roosters have arguably the best backline in the NRL, so any silly Raiders errors will be punished severely, especially with Ferguson in great form.

Prediction The Roosters have a few errors in their game, but have the roster to make up for this. Ferguson, Jennings, Tuivasa-Sheck and Tupou are all great finishers and will be ready to pounce should the Raiders make mistakes. The Raiders showed glimpses of their best in round 3, but their inability to remain competitive for the entire game cost them. Roosters by 14.

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