Matt Pritchard previews the round 5 clash between the Raiders and Storm to be played in Wagga Wagga.
Canberra Raiders Vs Melbourne Storm
Venue: McDonalds Park, Wagga Wagga
Date: Saturday, April 9, 3pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Semi Valemei 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Brad Schneider 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Tom Starling 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. Elliott Whitehead 14. Matt Frawley 15. Emre Guler 16. Adam Elliott 17. Corey Horsburgh 18. Xavier Savage 19. Ryan Sutton 20. James Schiller 21. Harry Rushton 22. Jarrod Croker 23. Trey Mooney 24. Peter Hola
Ricky Stuart has kept the same seventeen-man squad that were soundly beaten by the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in Mudgee last weekend. Some Raiders fans have taken to social media, angry that no changes have been made given their NSW Cup side having back-to-back wins against the Western Suburbs Magpies and Blacktown Sea Eagles. Ryan Sutton, Xavier Savage, and Jarrod Croker still remain in NSW Cup this week.Embed from Getty Images
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Josh King 14. Brandon Smith 15. Alec MacDonald 16. Trent Loiero 17. Tepai Moeroa 18. Tyran Wishart 19. Chris Lewis 20. Marion Seve 21. Jayden Nikorima 22. Jordan Grant 23. William Warbrick 24. Sualauvi Faalogo
Melbourne Storm have named the same side that demolished the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 44-0 at AAMI Park last Sunday. On the injury front, Bronson Garlick and Jack Howarth should be available for selection next week, while Tom Eisenhuth is a week further away from returning.
Referee: Gerard Sutton
It’s twelfth-placed Canberra Raiders taking on the second-placed Melbourne Storm at McDonalds Park in Wagga Wagga. This is the third time the Raiders have taken the game to Wagga Wagga having beaten the Panthers in 2019 before Newcastle’s come from behind win last year.
It will be the 50th game played between the teams with the Storm comfortably leading the head-to-head with 35 wins to the Raiders 14.
The dominance of the Storm is not the only thing against the Raiders. After an excellent forty minutes to beat the Gold Coast Titans at home two weeks back, they never looked in the game against the Sea Eagles in Mudgee last week. It was an embarrassing performance where they couldn’t build pressure and made way too many mistakes. The individual try to Jack Wighton was a lonely highlight in a disappointing effort.
Perhaps the Raiders can take a leaf out of the Storm’s book from last week. After going down in a thrilling golden point game against the Eels a week earlier, they came out all guns blazing against albeit a rebuilding Bulldogs outfit, to put 44 unanswered points on them.
However, there’s a big difference in preparation and hunger right now between these two teams and you would expect Melbourne to tighten their defence and prove to the rugby league community that they aren’t done with yet as a powerhouse club.
A well drilled team with Papenhuyzen bagging four last week; Xavier Coates’ transition from the Broncos has been smooth, and a side which has Brandon Smith unable to crack the starting thirteen, is ominous for Melbourne to continue their domination against the Green Machine.
Someone other than Jack Wighton has to stand up for the Raiders. Joseph Tapine was very good against the Titans but had little influence against the Sea Eagles. Surely, someone must support Josh Papalii against the might of the Storm.
At what point does Jarrod Croker return to the Raiders line-up? Even if it’s for some experience and stability.
In the meantime, Melbourne is in the box seat to notch up their fifth on the trot against Canberra.Embed from Getty Images
Ricky Stuart last weekend coached the Raiders for the 200th time having won 51% with the former halfback at the helm. Craig Bellamy just went past 500 games with Melbourne with a 70% success rate. The two have faced off 27 times with Stuart tasting success only 8 times against Bellamy across four clubs (Roosters, Sharks, Eels and Raiders). This says a lot about the dominance of Bellamy’s Storm over a long period of time. The players might change but the success doesn’t.
Melbourne by 20.
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