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Raiders v Broncos
Canberra Stadium
Monday 7pm

Rally around Raiders fans: your team wants you out in force for the first home game and now, after watching the young Broncos team defeat the Cowboys, they may need you.

Brisbane’s impressive start to the season will be reinforced if they can travel to chilly Canberra at the back end of the round and take out the Raiders, who were punished by the Panthers thanks to an inability to compete hard for an entire 80 minutes.

Despite having a plethora of kids in the line-up, the Broncos raced to a big lead against North Queensland and although they were reeled in they still managed to kick away again to take the points late in the match.

And they also have revenge on their minds, as the last time a Brisbane team played in Canberra they were spanked 56-0 in a record-breaking demolition.

The Raiders were belted early by Penrith, then started playing good football to get back in the fixture, before switching off again to end up on the end of a hiding – and in 16th spot on the NRL ladder.

Danny Galea is out, as is Josh Miller, with Joe Picker and Shaun Fensom coming into the starting pack. Troy Thompson, Josh McCrone and James Stuart have been added to a bench of six.

The Broncos have retained their side, with Scott Anderson named to start and Mitchell Dodds on the bench despite the pair switching roles in Round 1. Lagi Setu has been added as an 18th man.

Will the likes of Corey Norman, Gerard Beale and Matt Gillett be able to back up their Round 1 heroics away from their adoring fans and warm weather?

Watch out Raiders: The Broncos saw how Penrith tore apart the left edge of the field, scoring five of six tries in the area, and as such, Brisbane will be sending troops left.

The Raiders’ right-side defenders (remember teams face each other) need to be much better than they were in Round 1 or they will be toast.

In fact, they all need to be better: 34 missed tackles makes life difficult. David Shillington missed six, while Daniel Vidot, Alan Tongue, Dane Tilse, Trevor Thurling, Joel Thompson and Terry Campese missed three each.

Brisbane scored five tries in Round 1 – three of which were on the left side, so they already have some practice.

Watch out Broncos: An area where the Broncos need significant improvement is kick accuracy. The team found space with long kicks on just 33.3 per cent of occasions in Round 1 to be ranked last in the NRL.

When you are kicking direct to opposition players, you are allowing them to retrieve valuable metres and get their set of six off to a strong start. You are also making life more difficult for your kick-chase team.

Considering the Raiders found space on 66.7 per cent of occasions against Penrith, this is an area the Raiders could get an edge.

Where it will be won: Basics. This match will be won with completions and repeat sets. The heady excitement of Round 1 is gone and the basics of football need to be adhered to if you expect to win footy games. The side that makes the least errors and dominates field position will win. Both teams can score points, both teams have defensive lapses built into their fabric and as such it is all about getting the little things right.

Brisbane made 16 errors in Round 1 while Canberra made 11; both will be looking to improve on that. Kick-chase and kick metres are also imperative. We know the Broncos aren’t hitting enough open spaces, and with only 523 kick metres compared to the Raiders’ 623 from last weekend, they need to really focus hard here during training.

The History: Played 37; Raiders 15, Broncos 21, drawn 1. The two teams have been going win-loss for the past seven clashes and if the trend continues it will be a Raiders victory.

The head-to-head record at Canberra Stadium has the Raiders leading 9-7 with one draw but the Broncos haven’t won at the venue since 2005, losing the past three at the venue including last years embarrassing 56-0 record loss.

Conclusion: On form from Round 1, the match points directly to the Broncos. But there are reasons to like the Raiders. For a start, they are at home and are always better in Canberra.

The Broncos’ youngsters may not back up well after such a big build-up and encounter in Round 1… but then again, maybe they are classier than we are giving them credit for.

That 56-0 result last year still lingers, so don’t write the Raiders off; they can win this.

Match officials: Referees – Gavin Badger & Phil Haines; Sideline Officials – Russell Turner & Henry Perenara; Video Ref – Chris Ward.

Televised: Fox Sports 2 – Live 7pm.

* Statistics: NRL Stats.
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