Round 5 Preview: Canberra Raiders vs Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

Photo Credit: NRL.com

Canberra Raiders vs Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs.
Venue: GIO Stadium.
Date: Thursday, April 5th.
Time: 7:50pm AEST

Canberra Raiders:
  1. Jack Wighton
  2. Nick Cotric
  3. Jarrod Croker (c)
  4. Joseph Leilua
  5. Jordan Rapana
  6. Aiden Sezer
  7. Sam Williams
  8. Iosia Soliola
  9. Siliva Havili
  10. Junior Paulo
  11. Joseph Tapine
  12. Elliott Whitehead
  13. Luke Bateman
Interchange:
  1. Ata Hingano
  2. Shannon Boyd
  3. Dunamis Lui
  4. Liam Knight 
Reserves:
  1. Jack Murchie
  2. Michael Oldfield
  3. Blake Austin
  4. Josh Papalii
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs:
  1. Moses Mbye
  2. Brett Morris
  3. Josh Morris
  4. Will Hopoate
  5. Marcelo Montoya
  6. Jeremy Marshall-King
  7. Kieran Foran
  8. Aaron Woods
  9. Michael Lichaa
  10. David Klemmer
  11. Josh Jackson (c)
  12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner
  13. Adam Elliott
Interchange:
  1. Fa'amanu Brown
  2. Danny Fualalo
  3. Francis Tualalo
  4. Kerrod Holland
Reserves:
  1. Greg Eastwood
  2. Asipeli Fine
  3. John Olive
  4. Rhyse Martin
Game Preview:
We have a big game for both teams lined up here. It’s the 15th placed Canberra Raiders taking on the 14th placed Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were lucky to snag a win against the Panthers in a game that saw Nathan Cleary go down. A very lucky 2 points they came home with. The Raiders on the other hand are yet to win a game in 2018, they join the Eels as the only teams heading into Round 5 with an 0-4 record.

The Bulldogs have been quite an interesting team to watch this year so far. Their opening two games were quite messy and neither one was a close loss, however Round 3 saw them upset the Penrith Panthers and Round 4 was a tight loss in the final 5 minutes to the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Consistency seems to be an issue for the Bulldogs, it has been for some time now. Their big name signings have been nothing spectacular so far, however they have unearthed a potential superstar move in Moses Mbye to fullback who has been outstanding while wearing the #1 jersey.

The Canberra Raiders have been nothing but a disappointment for their fans, and I tell you what, I’m grateful to not be a green machine supporter right now! The Raiders must be sending their fans absolutely mad! A team that is 0-4 but realistically should be 3-1 if they could learn to finish a game off. Ricky Stuart has a serious task on his hands to improve the fitness of his side and turn their form around. The Raiders have an absolute star studded roster but over the last three years have failed to produce anything and have been well and truly underperforming. The recent off field dramas of Jack Wighton doesn’t help the Raiders chances either, and we are still yet to hear if the club will be taking any disciplinary action against him.

Key Match Ups.

Match Up #1: Sam Williams vs Kieran Foran.

I’ve got a big feeling that this game will come down to these two players. Sam Williams hasn’t been anything flashy for the Raiders, but has been an improvement from what they’ve lacked on. Williams needs to be managing the game better. No one seems to be finishing games off for the Raiders, and if he can do so, the Raiders will be winning a lot more games. 

Kieran Foran on the other hand has been a breath of fresh air for the Bulldogs. He hasn’t been amazing, not like his Warriors or Manly form, but he has added a bit more spark to the Bulldogs attack. Kieran Foran is inconsistent however, and has a tendency to disappear. The Bulldogs will need Foran to fire up and lead all play makers on the field if they wish to come away with the 2 points, as the Raiders will be desperate.

Match Up #2: Jack Wighton vs Moses Mbye.

This is a big game for Jack Wighton. 0-4 record, underperforming and now all this off field drama. I’ve seen many Raiders fans asking for him to be dropped. A kid that was once Origin worthy, is now struggling and the Raiders need him to step up and provide some spark. A lift from their #1 I believe will be one of the best things that could happen to the Raiders this season, and against the Bulldogs, he has a chance to do something. Let’s see if he can lift.

Moses Mbye has had a very interesting 12 months. Was a star half who went quiet after signing a big money contract. Dean Pay then made the bold move of giving him the #1 jersey, and boy hasn’t it worked a treat this past fortnight. His move has added some much needed flair to the Bulldogs offence, and it has resulted in a win and a last minute loss, and even some hope for the Dogs fans. If he can keep it up and be the exciting fullback he’s been as of late, he will tear this big Raiders team alive, especially when they get fatigued in the final quarter of the game.

Match Up #3: Battle Of The Forwards.

The third match up was one I couldn’t leave out, as it seems to be both teams biggest weakness. The Bulldogs forwards have been much more consistent than the Raiders, but still aren’t dominating like they should be. Million dollar man Aaron Woods has been a serious disappointment, and the other forwards outside of Faitala-Mariner and Klemmer haven’t been to impressive. It seems as though Faitala-Mariner and Klemmer are heavily relied upon, and it will eventually take it’s toll. The remaining forwards need to step up and help these two out.

The Raiders Forwards could quite be the most disappointing thing in 2018 so far. They are big, they are strong, but the new rule changes seem to have made a serious dent in the engine room for the Raiders. Their ability to finish off a game is beyond disgusting, and although they are coming out of the sheds strong, they aren’t finishing anywhere near as good, and the big boys MUST step up if they are to work their way back into top 8 contention. This is a big game for the forward pack of the Raiders.

Stonecold’s Prediction: Raiders by 4.
Risky pick I know. I for the life of me can’t see the Raiders going 0-5, and if they do, it’s already almost season over. The pressure is on, and they simply must win this game. I see them coming out strong, and finally finishing a game off. They’ll surely turn it around this week.

-Stonecold

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bailey, Taylor & Moi Moi "Sacked" By Wolfpack

Frank-Paul Set For Warriors Exit

Eels Bad Boy On His Way To UK?