Raiders vs Warriors
Sat 13th April 7:30pm (local)
So I’ll admit that the Warriors were nowhere near as bad as predicted last weekend. Once they went 12-0 down I thought “here we go, another thrashing”, but was pleasantly surprised when they fought back to push Souffs all the way. At one point I even felt as though they may even pull off an unlikely win, but alas it was not to be.
It’s never ideal when a round 6 game is almost a “must win”, though that’s the situation the Warriors find themselves. Despite the Raiders current position on the table, this fixture isn’t the ideal follow-up match for this Warriors side and I’m not convinced they’ll be able to lift themselves to the level they were at last Sunday.
Recent Form: Are any two teams in the comp as similar as these two? Both are difficult to beat at home, hopeless on the road and neither show any hint of consistency. The Raiders have predictably been off the pace thus far in 2013, though like the Warriors produced a great 2nd half of football last weekend to overcome the Roosters. The Warriors have gone from looking downright terrible to being a permissible NRL side in the past couple of weeks, the key will be whether they can reproduce that sort of form away from home.
Players to Watch: Terry Campese will make his 1st and only appearance of 2013, provided he can make it through the warm-up. Seriously though, if the Raiders are to go anywhere this year Campese will need to stay fit. They’ve lost nothing at fullback since Robinson has taken after Josh Dugan imploded, and he’s always impressive against us.
I sincerely hope Elliot keeps da faif in Ngani Laumape. The youngster has been hugely impressive in a poorly performing side and I think he’s done enough to retain his spot over Tupou with Nielsen slotting back into the side.
Feleti Mateo showed signs of recovery last weekend, though I still dislike how central he seems to be receiving the ball. Too often he seems to be standing at 1st receiver and passing wide to our halves, rather than the other way around. Hopefully the return to fitness of our propping rotation and Mannering’s new found form allows Feleti a little more freedom to find sort of form that the side so desperately needs.
I thought our halves were two of the most disappointing players on the paddock against Souffs. Johnson still seems absolutely clueless at times, while TL loves to give the advertising on the billboards plenty of air-time with his over-cooked short kicking game. I’m praying these two can sort their shit out, just a couple of repeat sets and playing for territory would do me, forget the glory plays.
My Prediction: The encouraging performance against Souffs will mean little if we revert to the crap that plagued the opening few rounds. This competition is about consistency and building on performances, and our start to the season leaves no room for another poor showing, especially when faced with an away trip to Melbourne next week.
Unfortunately however, Canberra has never been a happy hunting ground for the Warriors. The Raiders are coming off the back of a good win at home and will surely fancy their chances of backing up with another victory here. With any luck we can spring an upset, but at this moment in time I don’t think consistency is a strong point, and low-key Saturday night away games have never been our forte. Raiders in a tight-ish one: 28 – 20.