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2021 NRL Round 16 Preview, Raiders Vs Titans

Matt Pritchard previews Canberra’s Saturday evening home clash against the Gold Coast. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: GIO Stadium Canberra, Date: Saturday July 3rd, 2021 Time: 5:30pm

Raiders Team

1. Bailey Simonsson
2. Semi Valemei
3. Jarrod Croker
4. Sebastian Kris
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. Matthew Timoko
19. Hudson Young
20. Matt Frawley
21. Ryan James

Team Changes

IN: Hudson Young, Jarrod Croker, Matt Frawley, Ryan James


OUT: Xavier Savage

Titans Team

1. Alexander Brimson
2. Phillip Sami
3. Brian Kelly
4. Patrick Herbert
5. Corey Thompson
6. Ashley Taylor
7. Jamal Fogarty
8. Jarrod Wallace
9. Erin Clark
10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11. Kevin Proctor
12. David Fifita
13. Tyrone Peachey
14. Beau Fermor
15. Sam Lisone
16. Moeaki Fotuaika
17. Jaimin Jolliffe
18. Sam Stone
19. Sam McIntyre
20. Mitch Rein
21. Jayden Campbell

Team Changes

IN: Alexander Brimson, Beau Fermor, Corey Thompson, Kevin Proctor, Sam Lisone


OUT:
Greg Marzhew, Jai Whitbread

Referee: Matt Cecchin

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Raiders

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In tenth place on the table, the Canberra Raiders have an important month ahead of them if they are to remain in contention to make this years finals. A win against the Titans at home is a must.

The return of club captain Jarrod Croker will make a massive difference to the Raiders chances after being sidelined with a knee injury.

Last time out the Raiders fell into their usual pattern: leading at half time before going down to the Dragons 22-20 on a windy evening at WIN Stadium. Their only win since Magic Round was against the Broncos in Round 14. With Manly, Cronulla and Parramatta coming up over the next month, this game needs to be a win.

Titans

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The Titans are in a similar predicament to the Raiders with this game important to whether they sink or swim in the final part of the campaign.

To lead 24-8 against the Sea Eagles at home last time out and to concede 46 second-half points in unforgiving. This comes after pushing the Roosters all the way in Round 14, only to go down 35-34. The Titans ability to push top 8 sides like the Sea Eagles, Roosters and Rabbitohs is a plus. That cannot be said for their defence, conceding 436 points so far this season with only the Tigers and Broncos faring worse.

The return of AJ Brimson from injury is a boost not only for the Titans, but the under siege Queensland Origin side. Corey Thompson will crash through the 100 game barrier with his return to the starting side. Both will bring plenty in attack, but the underbelly forward pack need to be solid if they are to be a chance of beating the Raiders at home.

PREVIEW

Both sides have plenty to play for at GIO Stadium. A loss for the Titans could be a huge body blow on their quest to play finals footy. For Canberra, it’s a chance to get back on track after a disappointing campaign where they’ve played from the front and often surrendered in the second half of matches.

With an eye on the Queensland players, there’s plenty of players who need to prove a point to selectors ahead of the final Origin game. Josh Papalii, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Moeaki Fotuaika and David Fifita have had little impact for the Maroons during Origin and need strong performances to bring some confidence back to the squad as they try to avoid a whitewash.

Ultimately it’s going to be the attack that wins this game and this is where Canberra has the experience and class to get the points. Croker’s return is a boost and Jordan Rapana plays his 150th. It’s the future stars headlined by Semi Valemei who could play a big part. Valemei signed a new contract during the week to extend his time at the club until the end of 2024.

Pressure will remain on Gold Coast Titans Ashley Taylor. Off contract at the end of the season his career is on the line, especially with Brisbane’s intentions to offload Anthony Milford and possible link to the Titans.

KEY STAT

Their most recent clash was also affected by COVID with the Titans fixture relocated to Sydney’s Jubilee Stadium. It was a grind for the Raiders in winning 20-4. Josh Papalii amassed 193 run metres from 21 hit-ups, with 67 post contact. Could Papalii star again?

PREDICTION

Canberra should get the points here given the Titans woeful defence of late. The fly-in, fly-out under COVID protocols won’t help the Titans chances. Raiders by 16.

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