Eels v Raiders preview

Parramatta Eels v Canberra Raiders
Pirtek Stadium
Saturday 2:00pm

Two teams will play for pride on Sunday afternoon as the Parramatta Eels host the Canberra Raiders in the first NRL game ever to be influenced by a shot clock.

Both teams have agreed for the new rule to be trialed in the game that will have no bearing on the make up of the finals.

As in the Holden Cup, each team will be allowed 30 seconds for drop-outs and 35 seconds for scrums, if they do not complete either in time they will be penalised.

The Raiders head into this one understrength following a damaging victory against the Panthers on Monday night. 

Following Jack Wighton's suspension for a high tackle, Sisa Waqa moves to fullback while Jordan Rapana returns from his shoulder charge suspension on the wing.

Blake Austin is also out for this one after suffering a serious shoulder injury last start, he underwent surgery during the week and is replaced by Mitch Cornish.

Meanwhile for the Eels, David Gower and Darcy Lussick swap between the bench and lock in an otherwise unchanged team.

 

Watch Out Eels: The Raiders are a genuine threat to score from within their own half  with a group of speedsters out wide. Jarrod Croker, Edrick Lee and Sisa Waqa were all in scintillating form in Monday night's win over Penrith and will once again be looking to carve up this weekend. Against the game's best winger, Semi Radradra, these three could really do some damage on Sunday afternoon.

Watch Out Raiders: Semi Radradra is in unstoppable form and heads in to this weekend's matches with a one-try lead atop the NRL leading try-scorers table. He'll be looking for another big performance to close out an amazing season and to stamp himself as the game's best finisher. The Raiders will need to get numbers into contact on this huge, powerful man. 

Key Match-Up: Luke Kelly v Sam Williams. This match may very well be won in this positional battle. Two solid halfbacks looking to stamp themselves as first-graders will be hell-bent on winning this clash. Kelly has been solid this season but looks likely to relinquish his jersey to Kieran Foran next season, while Williams is set to be given the same treatment as Aidan Sezer heads to the nation's capital next year. A big performance in this one will give both these players a lot more confidence heading into the off-season. 

History: Played 50; Eels 25, Raiders 25. Last time these two met the Raiders ended the Eels' 2014 season with a 33-20 point victory at Canberra Stadium.

What Are The Odds: There’s three times the cash invested on the Eels in head-to-head betting according to Sportsbet, although punters are thinking Parramatta are more likely to win 1-12 rather than a big victory. Latest odds at Sportsbet.com.au.

Match Officials: Referee: Adam Devcich. Assistant Referee: Chris James. Touch Judges: Brett Suttor, Anthony Eliott. Video Referees: Shayne Hayne, Daniel Irvine.

Televised: Fox Sports, Live, 2:00pm.

The Way We See It: Both sides come into this clash with confidence following solid recent performances. But the Raiders are understrength with the omission of their two best attacking players, Austin and Wighton. At home the Eels should be slightly too strong. They'll get the win by four.