Wed, Mar 9, 3:36pm by Kevin Pitstock
Traditionally the Raiders have a good home record and poor away game. Traditionally Sharks have poor record all season. This will be one of the most uneventful games of the weekend, the only good to come out of it will be profit. The Raiders were coming home like a freight train at the end of last year but were stopped in their tracks in finals week 2 by the Tigers. Half-back woes in the nation’s capital should turn around with the signing of Matt Orford. Surprisingly the Sharks have won 8 of their last 10 encounters against the Raiders, even more surprising is the fact they have an overall winning record against them in Canberra. 4 of the last 5 in Canberra have gone to the Sharks.
Unfortunately the half back signing of Matt Orford won’t be a benefit in round 1 as he is out with an injury. They are also waiting on the return of NSW representative five-eighth Terry Campese. This leaves the platform open for Josh McCrone and rookie Sam Williams to prove themselves as capable replacements. I tipped the raiders quite a bit last year, and it was the forward pack that sold me on their potential. I constantly read and hear about the Rabbitoh’s pack…. what is wrong with people?? Have they not seen the size of these guys? Leahroyd-Lars, Shillington, Fensom, Tilse, White. Josh Dugan at the back is developing into a genuine freak of nature, he has the same vibe as a young Billy Slater with everything at top speed, and at the same time has that SKD like ability to pull something out of the bag.
Cronulla Sharks Preview
As seen in “casualties” the sharks are without Isaac “The Flash” Gordon on the wing. As I look through the line up I start to question myself, is this a real NRL team? Its not until we get to the number 8 Kade Snowden that I remember why they are still in this competition. Their Back line is by far the worst in the NRL, they have no exceptional halves, centres, or wingers. This is imperfectly imbalanced by the gigantic forward pack that boasts former, current and future representative players. If the Sharks can somehow inadvertently injure full back Dugan then we may have a game on our hands.
Prediction and Odds
If you want to watch massive humans run at each other like wrecking balls then this is the match for you. Sadly this clash will be a sideshow attraction, with the real entertainment coming from the support play of Dugan. Raiders need all the home wins they can get and they need to set the record straight against the Sharks. This will be a close match with the Raiders coming out on top. Sportingbet Australia have very good odds on this with the Raiders coming in at $1.33
Last season 10 of the Raiders 14 wins were by a margin of 1-12. The odds have been released, with the Raiders at $1.33 for the win. My best bet is Raiders 1-12 @ $2.40 on Sportsbet.com.au.
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