2024 NRL: Round 3 Preview, Warriors Vs Raiders

Check out the match preview and prediction for the round 3 clash between the Warriors and Raiders.



New Zealand Warriors Vs Canberra Raiders
Venue: Apollo Projects Stadium, Christchurch
Date: Friday March 22, 6:00pm (8pm NZ)


Warriors: 1. Taine Tuaupiki, 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 3. Rocco Berry, 4. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 5. Marcelo Montoya, 6. Luke Metcalf, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Addin Fonua-Blake, 9. Wayde Egan, 10. Mitchell Barnett, 11. Jackson Ford, 12. Kurt Capewell, 13. Tohu Harris, 14. Freddy Lussick, 15. Tom Ale, 16. Bunty Afoa, 17. Dylan Walker, 18. Adam Pompey, 20. Jazz Tevaga, 21. Te Maire Martin, 22. Jacob Laban, 23. Chanel Harris-Tevita

Raiders: 1. Jordan Rapana, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Matthew Timoko, 4. Albert Hopoate, 5. Xavier Savage, 6. Ethan Strange, 7. Jamal Fogarty, 8. Josh Papali’i, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Joseph Tapine, 11. Hudson Young, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Morgan Smithies, 14. Tom Starling, 15. Emre Guler, 16. Zac Hosking, 17. Pasami Saulo, 18. James Schiller, 19. Kaeo Weekes, 20. Ata Mariota, 21. Trey Mooney, 22. Zac Woolford

Referee: Liam Kennedy

Embed from Getty Images


For the second week in a row to open 2024, the Warriors are looking to bounce back from a four-point defeat. The defeat to the Storm in Melbourne last Saturday night was no ordinary defeat though. After trailing 18-6 at half time, the Warriors looked to have the game wrapped up when they led 26-18 with just a few minutes to go. After two tries in the final minutes, including Xavier Coates’ freakish effort on the siren, the Warriors were left with nothing to show for their effort. Now they head to Christchurch for a game that sold out in the preseason and staring down the barrel of three straight losses to start the season.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Raiders entered season 2024 with plenty predicting they’d struggle, however two strong wins over Newcastle and Wests Tigers sees them sitting at the top of the table for the first time since 2005.

The NRL celebrates Multicultural Round in round 3, with more than a dozen cultures represented in this match alone.

Wayde Egan has been named to return to the Warriors side after being a late withdrawal due to an elbow injury last week. If he is unable to take his place, Freddy Lussick will start at hooker and Chanel Harris-Tavita will come onto the bench. Aside from that, Andrew Webster has named an unchanged line-up.

Ricky Stuart has been forced into a change, with Seb Kris ruled out after a concussion in round 2. Nick Cotric returns on the wing in his place, with Albert Hopoate sliding to centre. The Raiders are boosted by the return of captain Elliott Whitehead in the second row, which sees Zac Hosking move to the bench and Ata Mariota drop to the reserves.

Matches between the two sides have been historically even, with Canberra holding a 26-24 advantage since 1995. The Warriors have won four of the past six again the Raiders, including both matches last year. Two of those four victories have come courtesy of Shaun Johnson golden point field goals, with another won by three points courtesy of a last-ditch tackle.

The two clubs have met at neutral New Zealand venues on three occasions, with the Raiders claiming wins in Wellington in 2003 and New Plymouth in 2016, and the Warriors winning at Eden Park in 2014. The Warriors have played three games at Apollo Projects Stadium since 2016, winning only once (2018 versus Manly) and losing most recently against Melbourne in 2023. They also suffered an 18-16 defeat against Wests Tigers during the preseason this year. They also lost four of their six games at the old stadium in Christchurch. Canberra have never previously played in Christchurch.

In front of a packed crowd in the South Island’s largest city, the Warriors should be good enough to break their duck for 2024.

Head-to-head stats can be found at Round 3 Number Crunch.


Warriors by 12 points.

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