Raiders v Warriors: Schick Preview

Schick Hydro Preview: Canberra Raiders v Warriors
GIO Stadium
Saturday, 5.30pm AEST, 7.30pm NZT

Both the Canberra Raiders and Warriors head into Round 7 seeking their third-straight NRL Telstra Premiership victory, with the pair currently part of a mid-table jam of six teams sitting on six competition points.

Canberra were in fine touch in last Saturday's 42-16 defeat of the Gold Coast Titans, running in eight tries to record their third, and easily most impressive, victory of the year.

The Warriors meanwhile head to GIO Stadium off the back of a solid showing which saw them down Parramatta 22-10, with the Kiwi franchise holding an opponent to fewer than 22 points for the first time this season.

Both sides have the rare luxury of being able to maintain their same 17 from last week, and given the form their respective sides are enjoying right now it's little surprise coaches Ricky Stuart and Stephen Kearney haven't felt the need to make any changes. 

It will be a special day for Blake Ayshford on Saturday, with the Warriors' utility back celebrating both his 29th birthday and 150th NRL career appearance.

Why the Raiders can win: No team has scored more than Canberra's 29 tries so far this year, and across the opening six rounds they have averaged 27 points scored per match. Add to that the fact that the Green Machine possess one of the NRL's best attacking weapons right now in Jordan Rapana, who leads the competition in tries scored, line breaks made and sits second for tackles broken, and it's not hard to understand why they are so dangerous with the ball.

Why the Warriors can win: Over the past fortnight the Warriors simply haven't given their opposition enough ball to win the game, with consecutive completion rates of 86 and 82 per cent which saw them own well over half of the total possession count on each occasion. Across the season so far the Warriors have been one of the best in terms of ball control, with their average completion rate of 77.88 per cent ranking them fourth in the NRL. If they can achieve those types of numbers this weekend they could quickly frustrate the Raiders into making unforced errors.

 


The history: Played 36; Raiders 19; Warriors 17. The Raiders have an excellent record against the Warriors at GIO Stadium, having won 11 of their 14 meetings at the venue. Canberra have had the better of the recent clashes as well, with wins in their last two games against the Warriors, but prior to that the Kiwi side had enjoyed a five-match winning streak over the Green Machine.

What are the odds: Canberra have been included in a stack of multis by Sportsbet punters, and the majority of the money in the winning margin market is on the Raiders to win 13+ at home. Jordan Rapana is the subject of 40 per cent of the money invested in the first try scorer market. Latest odds at Sportsbet.com.au

Match officials: Referee: Adam Gee. Assistant referee: Gavin Reynolds. Sideline officials: Jeff Younis and Phil Henderson. Review official: Ben Galea. Senior review official: Jared Maxwell.

Televised: Fox Sports – Live coverage from 5.30pm (AEST). Sky Sports - Live coverage from 7.30pm (NZT).

NRL.com predicts: These two sides share identical win-loss records to date in 2017, but Canberra have shown more to suggest they are the real deal, having comfortably beaten the three teams they have played so far who sit outside of the top eight. The Warriors have improved significantly over the past fortnight, but not enough to beat the Raiders in Canberra. Raiders by 18.