Fri, May 10, 11:35am by Rob Sheeley
Match: Canberra Raiders vs Newcastle Knights – NRL Round 9
When/Where: Sunday, 12 May 2013; 2:00pm at Canberra Stadium.
AG Recommended NRL Bookie: www.Bet365.com<
Last week’s giant killers take on the killed giants in this intriguing clash. The two sides had virtually opposite results in contrasting scenarios last weekend, both were major upsets.
The Raiders produced what many thought was all but impossible in 2013; a win over the Storm in Melbourne. They were given little hope but produced the goods and played like it was they who were the short priced favourites.
The Canberra side have now snuck up into ninth place on the ladder and are $26 premiership chances. They will now look to consolidate that upset win.
The Knights started last week’s game as red hot favourites against the Sharks. Despite the Sharks losing key players and the Knights looking to have the match won, they managed to lose.
Wayne Bennett would have been far from impressed with the serving his team dished up and you can bet there will be no encore performance here. The Knights still sit in fifth and are $15 to win this season’s premiership.
Tom Learoyd-Lahrs will miss this match with a foot injury. Dane Tilse has come into the starting lineup as his replacement. Prop David Shillington makes his return from injury and has been named on the bench.
Glenn Buttress will also miss a match after having hand surgery with Paul Vaughan coming onto the bench. Shaun Berrigan has been named as eighteenth man on an extended bench.
1. Reece Robinson
2. Sandor Earl
3. Jack Wighton
4. Blake Ferguson
5. Edrick Lee
6. Terry Campese (c)
7. Josh McCrone
8. Dane Tilse
9. Matt McIlwrick
10. Brett White
11. Joel Edwards
12. Joe Picker
13. Shaun Fensom
14. Anthony Milford
15. Jake Foster
16. David Shillington
17. Paul Vaughan
18. Shaun Berrigan
Canberra have already established themselves as a force to be reckoned with when they play at home this year. The Raiders caused the upset of the season last weekend and shook the tag of “bad travellers” in the process, defeating Melbourne in Melbourne. The win was a polished performance led by Terry Campese who was named in the starting team for the first time since his return from injury. Despite a fast finishing effort from the Storm, the Raiders showed great resilience under pressure to secure the victory.
In Round 7 the Raiders could not match it with the Jonathon Thurston led Cowboys in Townsville. They performed okay in patches but were never really a threat and went down by 30-12.
In Round 6 they managed to come from behind to overrun the Warriors in the last few minutes of a rugged match and win by four points (20-16).
The Raiders are shaping up as a competitive side in 2013. This match should be a good test of the Canberra squads consistency as they attempt to make it eight consecutive wins at home.
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Jarrod Mullen will miss this game for the Knights due to bone bruising to his knee. Mullen has been cleared of any serious injury but is still unable to take part this weekend. Kurt Gidley comes into the team as starting five eighth.
Matt Hilder comes into the seventeen on the bench along with Neville Costigan, with Korbin Sims named as eighteenth man.
1. Darius Boyd
2. James McManus
3. Dane Gagai
4. Timana Tahu
5. Akuila Uate
6. Kurt Gidley (c)
7. Tyrone Roberts
8. Kade Snowden
9. Travis Waddell
10. Willie Mason
11. Robbie Rochow
12. Alex McKinnon
13. Chris Houston
14. Matt Hilder
15. Neville Costigan
16. Adam Cuthbertson
17. David Fa’alogo
18. Korbin Sims
Newcastle looked like they had found some consistency before last weekend’s upset loss. Several mental lapses, errors and a lack of discipline cost the Knights dearly in a game that they had every opportunity to win. The Wayne Bennett coached outfit look like they could be anything this season; if they put their mind to it.
Prior to the loss, the Knights made the most of every opportunity against the injury ravaged Titans in Round 7. They were clinical in putting their opposition to the sword 30-6. The other positive for the Knights is that it was their first win away from home in 2013.
Despite winning in Round 6, the Knights were far from convincing. After leading 8-0 at half time against the Panthers, Newcastle clung on to just win 8-6.
In Round 5, the Knights were defeated by the Dragons in a game they were expected to win. This was another example of their form being a little sporadic. Whilst they are winning enough, they are losing games that they appear good enough to win.
There is no doubting the Knights ability as a rugby league team. If Wayne Bennett can mould them into a consistent unit, then the sky is the limit.
The Knights losing Jarrod Mullen will make the role of Kurt Gidley ever important in this clash. Gidley has been a “Mister Fix It” so far this season and filled virtually any and every position that he he has been required to by the Knights. Mullen’s form has been superb this season so Gidley has some decent sized shoes to fill.
Terry Campese has come back into the Canberra starting line up and had immediate results. His clash with Gidley could be the one that the game swings on. Expect Campese to be close to his vintage best again this weekend.
Despite the Raiders losing Tom Leahroyd-Lars for this game, we will still see two of the biggest packs in the NRL clash here. I don’t see either pack as having a distinct edge so it may well come down to attitude. Both sides will look for big men to set an example, possibly the more experienced ones. For the Raiders expect Brett White and Dane Tilse to be heavily involved, while Willie Mason could be the catalyst that gets the Knights forwards going.
This game also features some of the most exciting wingers and fullbacks in the game. Fullback Darius Boyd looks to be finding form again for the Knights. He comes up again the excitement machine, Reece Robinson. Robinson had a wow of a game against the Storm that was highlighted by a brilliant try.
The Knights wingers are two of the best around. Akuila Uate has been devastating this season and his counterpart, James McManus, is one of the best finishers in the NRL.
The Raiders boast the exciting Edrick Lee who has entertained Raiders fans ad infinitum this season. His teammate Sandor Earl has also been fantastic in 2013 with his unpredictable play. Throw in Blake Ferguson and this game could well be an amazing exhibition of blinding speed.
Head to Head
Raiders – $1.57
Knights – $2.45
Raiders1-12 – $3.10
Raiders 13+ – $3.00
Knights 1-12 – $4.05
Knights 13+ – $4.35
Raiders -4.5 – $1.91
Knights +4.5 – $1.91
The Raiders have proven themselves unstoppable at home so far in 2013. They will be keen to make sure they do not rest on their laurels after their big win over the Storm last week. Given the fact that the Knights are missing a key player in Jarrod Mullen, I think the Raiders have the edge.
Raiders by 8
The Raiders are a little short in the head to head market at $1.57, but do offer good value in the margins. The Raiders 1-12 is currently $3.10 with Bet365.com and well worth a bet.
For first try scorer of the match I like the athletic Edrick Lee at $11.
If you’re looking for a big return for a small outlay the First Try Scorer/Margin double of Edrick Lee/Raiders 1-12 is an inviting $34.
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