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2021 NRL Round 14 Preview, Raiders Vs Broncos

Andrew Pelechaty previews the Saturday night Raiders vs Broncos clash at GIO Stadium Canberra. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: GIO Stadium Canberra, Date: Saturday June 12, Time: 7:35pm

Raiders Team

  1. Bailey Simonsson
  2. Semi Valemei
  3. Sebastian Kris
  4. Matthew Timoko
  5. Jordan Rapana
  6. Jack Wighton
  7. Sam Williams
  8. Josh Papalii
  9. Josh Hodgson
  10. Dunamis Lui
  11. Corey Harawira-Naera
  12. Elliott Whitehead
  13. Ryan Sutton
  14. Tom Starling
  15. Emre Guler
  16. Isolia Soliola
  17. Joseph Tapine
  18. Elijah Anderson
  19. Hudson Young
  20. Matt Frawley
  21. Harry Rushton

Team Changes

IN: Hudson Young
Joseph Tapine
Josh Papalii
Matthew Timoko
Semi Valemei


OUT: Caleb Aekins
Corey Horsburgh
Curtis Scott
Ryan James

Broncos Team

  1. Herbie Farnworth
  2. Xavier Coates
  3. Dale Copley
  4. Jesse Arthars
  5. Selwyn Cobbo
  6. Karmichael Hunt
  7. Albert Kelly
  8. Matt Lodge
  9. Jake Turpin
  10. Payne Haas
  11. Alex Glenn
  12. Tevita Pangai Junior
  13. Thomas Flegler
  14. Kobe Hetherington
  15. John Asiata
  16. Keenan Palasia
  17. TC Robati
  18. Tesi Niu
  19. Cory Paix
  20. David Mead
  21. Jordan Riki

Team Changes

IN: Cory Paix
Dale Copley
Karmichael Hunt
Payne Haas
Tesi Niu
Xavier Coates


OUT:
Albert Kelly
David Mead
Ethan Bullemor
Jamayne Isaako
Jordan Riki

Referee: Chris Sutton

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Raiders

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Any hopes of the Raiders enjoying a relaxing bye weekend was ruined by Curtis Scott’s alleged nightclub fight, which saw him stood down for the Broncos clash (and possibly longer). With Canberra’s finals hopes fading, the addition of Matt Timoko suggests that Ricky Stuart is starting to plan for 2022. Other promising inclusions include Hudson Young, Josh Papalii, and Semi Valemi, while Jack Wighton should back up from Origin after a decent break. Meanwhile, the underperforming Caleb Aekins has been dropped to NSW Cup, and slotting Bailey Simonsson into fullback,

Broncos

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After an encouraging win over the Sydney Roosters in round 11, the Broncos have started to regress, with big losses to Melbourne and St George Illawarra. The Dragons loss was disappointing as the Broncos were right in the contest in the first half, with the game tied 18-18. But a try to Matthew Dufty on halftime broke the Broncos’ backs, with the Dragons soaring to a 52-24 win.

There’s a big inclusion for the Broncos, with Karmichael Hunt playing his first NRL game since 2009. He’s become one of the rare triple-code athletes, playing Australian Rules (Gold Coast Suns) and rugby union (Biarritz Olympique, Queensland Reds, Brisbane City, NSW Waratahs). While he’s rebounded from some off-field “incidents”, what on-field impact will the 34-year-old have, aside from passing on his 126 games of NRL experience to his younger teammates?

PREVIEW

Honestly, this game could be anything. While Brisbane have shown signs of improving (impressive wins over the Gold Coast and the Roosters), they’ve also been smashed by Melbourne (twice), South Sydney, Parramatta, Manly Warringah, and the Dragons.

Canberra’s second half collapses have been so frequent that it’s almost comical: somehow they blew 20-point and 16-point halftime leads against North Queensland and Newcastle respectively. Had they won both those game, they’d be 6-6, on the edge of the eight, and may have avoided all the seemingly endless soap opera drama of the last few weeks. As it stands, a loss here would end their barely-alive finals hopes. Where Bruce Stadium was once a fortress, the Raiders have lost four straight games there this season (only winning in round one against the Wests Tigers).

KEY STAT

Both 90s powerhouses, Canberra and Brisbane won seven premeirship between them from 1989 to 1998. It’s amazing they never played a grand final together in this time: the closest they came was 1997, when Canberra narrowly lost the Super League preliminary final to Cronulla-Sutherland, who in turn were smashed by Brisbane in the following week’s grand final.

While Brisbane have edged out Canberra in the NRL era (20 wins to 14 with one draw), the Raiders have won the last two at Bruce: 26-22 on Easter Sunday 2019 and 36-8 (despite another first half scare) in 2020.

PREDICTION

Honestly, this game could be anything: it could be a free-flowing cricket score, or – with both teams known for poor second halves – it could be a tight, grindy game. Canberra arguably have more to play for, as a win will keep their faint finals hopes alive.

Canberra by six.

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