Raiders (11th) v Titans (12th) 3pm Saturday at GIO Stadium
On Saturday we see two teams clash for the second time in 2018. In round one the boys from the glitter strip snuck home with a last-minute victory. Both teams have three wins in 2018 and want to deliver a loud message.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Green Machine blew match-winning leads in their first three games but then posted back-to-back wins over Canterbury and Parramatta. The Rabbitohs brought them back to earth with a thrashing. Last week they beat the Cowboys 18-8. However, the Cowboys are under-performing and there’s no reason for fans to make finals plans just yet.
Titans coach Garth Brennan shook up his halves combination last week by dropping five-eighth Kane Elgey, the Titans showed glimpses of talent and grit but lost to the Sharks 10-9.
Canberra are unchanged after their Townsville win.
Just one change on the bench, with Ryan Simpkins replacing Morgan Boyle.
For the Raiders to win: They need to back up last weekend’s win against the Cowboys. In round one they had the Titans beat for 65 minutes and still lost, so they need to be reminded not to take their foot off their opponent.
Canberra have scored 100 points in their previous three clashes with the Titans. Captain Jarrod Croker only needs four points to reach 900 for his career at GIO Stadium.
For the Titans to win: The squad needs to start pinning wins together. As a fan they show flashes of talent and somehow let it slip through their fingers.
Close is not a win and sometimes a one-point loss is worse than a hammering for fans. Our forward pack needs to really bring that strength under the direction of Ashley Taylor.
The Titans have won four of their past five games at GIO Stadium. Forward Will Matthews plays his 100th NRL game.
Canberra Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Iosia Soliola, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Junior Paulo, 11 Joseph Tapine, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Josh Papalii.
Interchange: 14 Ata Hingano, 15 Shannon Boyd, 16 Luke Bateman, 17 Dunamis Lui.
Reserves: 18 Liam Knight, 19 Michael Oldfield, 20 Brad Abbey, 21 Jack Murchie.
Gold Coast Titans: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Brendan Elliot, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 Bryce Cartwright, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Mitch Rein, 10 Ryan James (c), 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Will Matthews, 13 Jai Arrow.
Interchange: 14 Max King, 15 Jack Stockwell, 16 Keegan Hipgrave, 17 Ryan Simpkins.
Reserves: 18 Leilana Latu, 19 Moeaki Fotuaika, 20 Brenko Lee, 21 Kane Elgey.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 5 May, 2018
Venue: GIO Stadium
THE BEARDED ONE’S FINAL THOUGHT
The Raiders need to continue laying a foundation of wins built on the defence they displayed in Townsville last week.
The Titans continue to give their fans whiplash with their performances, hold the worse defensive record in the NRL and lack effective strike options out wide.
I am a massive Titans fan, and a win here will be very important for both teams. I predict the Raiders will be too good here and win by eight points.
Prediction: Canberra by eight.