A dead rubber to start off Saturday with the bottom 8 bound Titans facing the bottom 8 bound Raiders. Don’t let this fool you though, there is still plenty to play for here as both teams are desperately trying to avoid the wooden spoon, and with only 3 rounds remaining this could be the last opportunity that either club gets to avoid it.
It’s the Titans that are struggling though. They are still a point below the Eels and 2 behind the Raiders. The Points differential is what kills it for the Titans, they are -225 with the nearest being the Raiders on -177. So if the Titans win by 49 or more they will be off the bottom of the ladder. A very unlikely scenario indeed.
The Titans have the tactical home ground advantage over the Raiders with all of the 3 fixtures played at Skilled Park going to the home side. The Titans also won the most recent bout which was played at Canberra stadium earlier this year, 23-22, a Golden Point Thriller!
It’s the battle of the second graders as both teams are plagued with injuries for this one. It’s hard to tell who is worse off, but this is the Titans section so let’s have a look at some of theirs;
Scott Prince – Chief playmaker for the Titans since the club started in ’07. Has been struggling with form and confidence all year so the team is not losing too much compared to their form for the season.
Nathan Friend – Hardest working member of the team. Makes more tackles and does more work overall work than anyone else. Has been missing since very early on in the season.
Ashley Harrison – Their most consistent big man. Has plenty of Origin experience leads the forward pack through good direction. A lot is lost here.
Ryan James – A promising young forward with a bright future. Has a tendency to make a few mistakes a game, but all in all they lose a lot of size and strength here.
So the Titans are missing 4 of their essential players in this one, and they don’t have a proper half back or 5/8 to lead the team around the park.
So the Raiders are missing 2 more players than the Titans (for a total of 10)… so if you combine both of the injured lists you would have yourself a first grade NRL team with an 18th man as back up! Let’s look at the most important Raiders players that are out of action;
Josh Dugan – A great young full back that made his Origin debut earlier this year. Has freakish talent and can turn a contest like no other.
Terry Campese – Has been the best player for the Raiders for the last few years at 5/8. A Nasty injury in 2010 had him out for most of the 2011 season, only to return for a few minutes to injure his groin and find himself out for the entire season.
Matt Orford – Their biggest off season purchase but only managed a few starts before injuring his groin. Didn’t have much impact when he played so no love lost.
Tom Learoyd-Lahrs – One of the many huge men the Raiders boast in their forward pack. Was looking good for Origin duties before having a couple of injuries.
The Raiders have managed to win without Campese and Orford for most of the season so the fact they are out has little to do with their current ladder position. Dugan is the most important one out this week as he has had some impact in a couple of their wins. Dugan was also not playing in a couple of the others so there is no reason why they can’t do it without him.
A lot of punters are going for the Titans because they are at home and they did win just 2 weeks ago by a comfortable margin against the Sharks. It seems as though punters have already forgotten that they lost a staggering 6 in a row before that win. The Raiders are just a touch better than the Titans and it will be close, but they will get up.
This is a tight one and the Raiders are paying $2.20 as they are playing away. If they were at home they would be the favourites. Only a 1-12 will suffice and the Raiders are at $3.30.