Round 18 Preview: Canberra Raiders vs North Queensland Cowboys

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Canberra Raiders vs North Queensland Cowboys.
GIO Stadium.
Saturday, July 14th.
7:35pm AEST.
Canberra Raiders: 
1 Nick Cotric
2 Michael Oldfield
3 Jarrod Croker (c) 
4 Joseph Leilua
5 Jordan Rapana
6 Sam Williams
7 Aidan Sezer
8 Dunamis Lui
9 Josh Hodgson
10 Junior Paulo
11 Joseph Tapine
12 Elliott Whitehead
13 Josh Papalii
Interchange: 
14 Blake Austin
15 Luke Bateman
16 Siliva Havili
17 Iosia Soliola
Reserves: 
18 Liam Knight
19 Jack Murchie
20 Royce Hunt
21 Craig Garvey

North Queensland Cowboys: 
1 Lachlan Coote
2 Kyle Feldt
3 Enari Tuala
4 Kane Linnett
5 Antonio Winterstein
6 Te Maire Martin
7 Johnathan Thurston (c)
8 John Asiata
9 Jake Granville
10 Scott Bolton
11 Gavin Cooper
12 Coen Hess
13 Jason Taumalolo
Interchange: 
14 Ben Hampton
15 Shaun Fensom
16 Shane Wright
17 Corey Jensen
Reserves: 
18 Justin O'Neill
19 Ethan Lowe
20 Mitchell Dunn
21 Francis Molo
23 Jake Clifford

Match Preview.
Boy oh boy, what a comeback win it was for the Raiders last weekend?! I for one was blown away with that comeback, it’s the complete opposite to what we’re use to with the Raiders and I’m sure their fans were grateful for the change in luck. Although the comeback was great to watch, it’s time to move onto the match ahead. The Warriors fade as of late and their tough schedule to come, the Raiders have the slimmest of hopes for a top 8 finish, and the Cowboys are a game they must win. 



The Cowboys coming off the bye and a 1 point loss to the first place Rabbitohs the week before, they are in the same boat as the teams around them. Playing for pride. It’s a dangerous game for finals contention team, because a team with nothing to lose and playing for pride is a threat, especially when it’s the Cowboys. I wasn’t the only one who tipped the Cowboys to be my minor premiers and premiership favourites, and that’s why the Cowboys are a danger. Unlike the team around them, they’ve been the disappointment of the season, and they have a lot to play for, especially for their fan base who expected a big season!

Key Match Up: Josh Hodgson vs Jake Granville.
The favourite son of the nations capital. This man deserves the key to the city! Since coming back the Raiders have had a new burst of energy in their life, and it gives them a glimmer of hope for an NRL finals birth. He will be hoping to lead his team to a much needed victory for the Cowboys.

A man who I for one would of picked to replace Cameron Smith in the QLD #9 jersey. He’s hasn’t been his best his season, but he’s still one of the most influential players in the Cowboys team. With nothing but pride to play for, the Cowboys will need Granville to step up and lead them to an almighty upset on a cold night in Canberra.

Blake’s Prediction: Raiders by 4.
The weather is one reason I’m picking this one, but the desperation to make the finals this season is the big reason I’m picking the Raiders in this one. The Cowboys will be valiant, but the Raiders will take the 2 competition points.

-Blake.

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