The fresh country air of Wagga Wagga might be just the trick to turn around the Panthers form and give them the win they've been craving for the past three weeks.
Then again the city is only 160km from Canberra so it's virtually a home game for the Raiders.
Since it's an unfamiliar ground for both teams, the key to a win will come down to what it does at any stadium - using a good kicking game and solid possession to create points.
And on that score Penrith five-eighth James Maloney is in the top-10 for the number of kicks in play - Jack Wighton is just inside the top-20 - but Canberra are the kings of possession leading the NRL with the time they have the ball in hand.
Match: Raiders v Panthers
Round 8 -
Venue: McDonalds Park, Wagga Wagga
Raiders: Joseph Leilua is out, replaced in the centres by Michael Oldfield. No other late changes for the Green Machine. Emre Guler was the last player cut before kick-off, while Aidan Sezer and Murchie were trimmed from the original 21-man squad on Friday. The Raiders (5-2) are aiming to bounce back from last week's road loss to Manly.
Panthers: The Panthers are 1-17 as named on Tuesday. Coach Ivan Cleary has retained exactly the same 17-man team that wasn't far off beating the Rabbitohs last week. Jerome Luai and Kaide Ellis were omitted an hour before kick-off, while Dylan Edwards and Tyrell Fuimaono dropped off the reserves list on Friday. The Panthers have won two of seven games and can virtually forget about a top-four finish if they lose on Saturday.
Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-KlokstadFullback for Panthers is number 1 Caleb Aekins
Winger for Raiders is number 2 Nick CotricWinger for Panthers is number 2 Josh Mansour
Centre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod CrokerCentre for Panthers is number 3 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Centre for Raiders is number 19 Michael OldfieldCentre for Panthers is number 4 Waqa Blake
Winger for Raiders is number 5 Bailey SimonssonWinger for Panthers is number 5 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack WightonFive-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 James Maloney
Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Sam WilliamsHalfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh PapaliiProp for Panthers is number 8 James Tamou
Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh HodgsonHooker for Panthers is number 9 Wayde Egan
Prop for Raiders is number 10 Dunamis LuiProp for Panthers is number 10 Tim Grant
2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 John Bateman2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Isaah Yeo
Lock for Raiders is number 13 Ryan SuttonLock for Panthers is number 13 James Fisher-Harris
Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Siliva HaviliInterchange for Panthers is number 14 Sione Katoa
Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Hudson YoungInterchange for Panthers is number 15 Liam Martin
Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Iosia SoliolaInterchange for Panthers is number 16 Moses Leota
Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Corey HorsburghInterchange for Panthers is number 17 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Referee: Dave Munro
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
Apart from the one mentioned above - the two No.6s - both in their kicking games and how they link with the outside backs, the other highlight that might get more bums on seats is Viliame Kikau, on the left-edge, up against John Bateman on the Raiders' right.
For the Raiders to win
Giving the ball early to Joey Leilua, John Bateman, or Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad so they have a little space. These three have racked up a collective 104 tackle-breaks, while the Raiders the only club to have three players in the NRL top-10.
For the Panthers to win
The forward pack continues the work rate standard they set against South Sydney last week. Back rowers James Fisher-Harris (16 runs, 145 metres) and Kikau (15 runs, 169 metres) were outstanding but were still topped by prop James Tamou. Not only did he make 20 runs for 245 metres, he made the most post-contact metres (89) of anyone on the field.
Brett Kimmorley says
That was the best Penrith have played in 2019. Viliame Kikau is such a force on the left edge. If they repeat that they’ll have more wins that losses over the rest of the season. They are good signs. The Raiders will be kicking themselves over their loss last week against a side with no Tom Trbojevic and DCE missing for a large part of the second half. Ricky won’t be too happy with that loss and his team will want to respond. Raiders by 8
The Raiders continue to keep their handling errors to a minimum. They are averaging only nine per game, while the Panthers are well into double digits and also high up the ladder for penalties conceded. Ricky Stuart's men are second in the NRL for the least number of ineffective tackles. But the Panthers are in the top-five for support play, so will be testing that Raiders defence.
And another thing ...
Centre Joey Leilua will play his 200th NRL game for Canberra. They are his third club (after Roosters and Knights) but he's been there the longest (five years) and scored the most tries for them. He's had four in seven games in 2019.