Canberra Raiders: The run home...

What a difference a year makes! This time last year the young Raiders were playing inspired footy and making a dashing and daring bid for the finals, which made the lime green army believe again.<br><br>This year the Raiders are struggling and in the last two weeks have been playing an impotent brand of football. Despite the representative experience of Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Terry Campese, they look a disjointed outfit who are unable to hurt teams the way they have in the past.<br><br>The only answer is a return to the free running ways of last year, but injuries seem to have crippled the Green Machine in 2009 and they don’t seem capable of playing a full 80 minutes on a regular basis. Add to that the fortress once known as Bruce Stadium is losing its reputation as a place to be feared (the Raiders are 4 and 4 at home in 09, they went 8-2 last year and 7-4 in 07) and you have a team who promised so much now looking like following a familiar pattern... '05 14th, '06 finals, '07 14th, '08 finals, '09…… 14th, well maybe.<br><br><b>The run home:</b> Wests Tigers (H), Broncos (H), Bulldogs (A), Dragons (H), Warriors (A), Knights (H), Broncos (A).<br><br>This isn't a dream run home by any stretch of the imagination. Three top eight sides, the Broncos twice, the Warriors at Mt. Smart and the brilliant (if erratic) Tigers this weekend would be a tough run home for any team, let alone one who is struggling with form and possibly confidence.<br><br>To have any chance at finals footy the Raiders have to win this weekend. They need the confidence-boosting win before taking on Brisbane, the Bulldogs and Dragons. It won’t be easy though; the Tigers were looking good against the Cowboys last weekend. If Canberra can frustrate the Tigers and not allow Farah and co. to get a roll on then they can keep their fading finals hopes alive.<br><br><b>Players to Watch:<br>Terry Campese</b> – Campese started the season like a house on fire, sweeping all before him and helping his team to a few wins along the way. As the season draws to a close Campese needs to kick it back up a gear. He is everything to this Raiders side and if he can find his very best form, others will follow. <br><br><b>Bronson Harrison </b>– Is the king of second phase play. His ability to offload has been emphasised in Canberra and as such he leads the NRL in offloads with 56, 14 more than nearest rival and offloading aficionado Anthony Tupou. When the Raiders run off this man they get the space they so badly need. Harrison is a key component to their success.<br><b><br>Predicted Finish: </b>14th