Sunday sees two top 8 sides go toe to toe in a heated battle for supremacy – The Dragons have won the last two but the Raiders hoard all the gold historically. The Raiders arrive at WIN stadium full of confidence having brutally bested the Titans in gladiatorial combat, their gaze now fixed on the steel-like hide of the Dragons. St George suffered a setback when a full strength Rabbitohs squad bested them on Monday night, and they’ll be determined to get back on track and keep themselves in the top four. The Raiders rocketed up the ladder from 10th to 5th, and another win will keep them in the 8 and make it four in a row. The Dragons have their near impenetrable defence, while the Raiders have an attack engine ready to rumble forward.
Big Three – Dragons
Josh Dugan: He may have been injured heading into the Souths game but that didn’t stop the former Raider from running over 250 metres as he terrorised the Bunnies defence across the park. With the chance to claim an Origin berth Dugan will be fired up.
Benji Marshall: The step and speed may be somewhat diminished but old age has Marshall operating on a craftier and calmer level. Paired with Widdop in the halves he still has what it takes to steer the Dragons around the field.
Tyson Frizell: The 2nd rower has been an Origin candidate for several weeks now as he continues to put in solid performances week in week out. Sunday afternoon he gets the chance to test himself against another Origin forward in the shape of Josh Papalii – expect fireworks.
Big Three – Raiders
Sia Soliola: Sia was everywhere against the Titans, smashing them in defence, making metres and catching a great short pass from his captain to crash over for a well-deserved try. All the hype might be around Austin but Soliola has been an equally impressive recruitment for the Green Machine.
Mitchell Cornish: With Sam Williams laid up with a collapsed lung Cornish gets another shot at first grade – here’s hoping his packed his A grade kicking game for the trip as the majority of kicking duty will fall on him and Hodgson. If Cornish can find a groove behind the forwards good things will happen.
Shannon Boyd: Canberra’s walking mountain once again put in good work, clocking up 121 metres off 10 runs. Given that it takes a minimum off three defenders putting in extra effort to down him Boyd is an essential unit when it comes to tiring out opposition defences. He also put in 22 tackles for 2 missed tackles, which is a pretty good ratio.
You Wot Mate?
The NRL review tipped in favour of the Raiders! Which is hilarious considering how much the Sydney media dislikes the Green Machine. If the Raiders can defend well they can easily take the fight to the Dragons.
The Raiders win by 12 off the back of some unforeseen brilliant defensive work, Cornish kicks for open space 100% of the time and every Raider is just generally awesome. Meanwhile McCrone and Buttriss cling to a life raft in the Caribbean, having aged terribly in the triangle time vortex.