2023 NRL Preview Round 9: Raiders Vs Dolphins

Andrew Pelechaty previews the rematch between Canberra and The Dolphins, following their tight and controversial Round 2 clash.



Canberra Raiders Vs The Dolphins
Venue: McDonalds Park, Wagga Wagga
Date: Saturday April 29, 3:00pm


Raiders: 1. Sebastian Kris 2. Albert Hopoate 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Matthew Timoko 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Horsburgh 14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Corey Harawira-Naera 18. James Schiller 19. Brad Schneider 20. Xavier Savage 21. Trey Mooney 22. Peter Hola

Dolphins: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Euan Aitken 4. Brenko Lee 5. Robert Jennings 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Isaiya Katoa 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Kenny Bromwich 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Connelly Lemuelu 13. Tom Gilbert 14. Jarrod Wallace 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ray Stone 17. Herman Ese’ese 18. Kurt Donoghoe 19. Poasa Faamausili 20. Edrick Lee 21. Mason Teague 22. Anthony Milford

Referee: Peter Gough

Embed from Getty Images


This is another historic game for The Dolphins: the first time they’ve played a repeat opponent and their first game in country NSW. It’s only their third game outside of Queensland so far.

They’re also coming off a big comeback win – beating the Gold Coast Titans 28-26 at Lang Park after trailing 26-0. The comeback started with Robert Jennings in the 33rd minute. The Dolphins built on that momentum shift, scoring four second half tries: Mark Nicholls, Jarrod Wallace, Jennings’ second, and Euan Aitken with the match-winner. The 5-3 Dolphins are now embedded in the top eight.

Following the horrendous loss to Penrith, the Raiders rebounded with wins over Brisbane at Lang Park and St George Illawarra at Bruce. While the Broncos win was impressive, they made hard work of the Dragons game. They trailed 4-0 after one of the worst first halves in recent memory. Sebastian Kris, Matthew Timoko, and Hudson Young scored to give Canberra a comfortable 20-10 lead with six minutes left. But – in typical Raiders fashion – they nearly blew it.

With two minutes left, a needless Jack Wighton pass was intercepted by Tautau Moga (his second try). The Raiders were reduced to 12 when Hudson Young was sin binned with the Dragons pushing for one more try, but Canberra held on to win 20-14. Jarrod Croker’s four goals from four was a big difference.

It hasn’t been a peaceful bye round for Canberra, with Jack Wighton signing with South Sydney on ANZAC Day. A lot of Raiders fans were angry, with a small portion wanting to see him dumped immediately and replaced by Brad Schneider. Though cooler heads won out and Wighton retains the #6 jersey for now. How will Dolphins fans feel, with Wighton a strong favourite to head to Redcliffe before Souths came into the picture? With his future settled, will Wighton be motivated to make the most of his final months in Canberra? And how will the Raiders react to losing one of their biggest players? Their “home” record in Wagga isn’t the best either, with one win against Penrith and losses to Newcastle and Melbourne.

While this is a “winnable” game for Canberra (and they should be fresh after a week off), those games have been the hardest, often going in too complacent and either being embarrassed or pulling off a tight win with some individual brilliance. How will The Dolphins back up the Titans win? Will they carry that momentum or will they crash from the emotional high? Can the memory of their Round 2 comeback win over Canberra sustain them?

Just one change for the Raiders, with Jordan Rapana coming back in. While Xavier Savage is available, we can assume Ricky wants to give him more time in NSW Cup after a long lay-off. Kenny Bromwich is back for the Dolphins from a one-game suspension.

The Raiders should do enough here, but it’ll be close.


Dolphins 1, Raiders 0


Raiders by two points.

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