Raiders Rumble! Round 10 vs the Bulldogs


The NRL circus rolls into Brisbane for three days of footy fun, with the Raiders and Bulldogs handed the honour of playing the 6pm curtain-raiser on Friday. Both teams are coming off close wins: the Raiders managed to hang on against a fast-phinishing ‘Phins outfit, while the Bulldogs drove another nail into the coffin of the Dragons campaign (and Griffin’s tenure as coach).

What the Raiders need to bring is the magic of their first ten minutes against the Dolphins – they scored twice and starved the opposition of possession. If they can start that well against Canterbury (and maintain the tempo) they’ll be in the box set for three wins (Ed note: actually four! Thanks Blake) in a row.

If you want insight on a winning strategy for Suncorp look no further than the Raiders win over the Broncos. The Milk did two things very well in that game: they smothered Brisbane with strong defence and they kicked to the corners. Anyone who’s seen a recent Suncorp game can tell you that the pitch is slippery and quite soft underfoot, as evidenced by the amount of turf getting churned up the last few weeks.

I haven’t seen much of the Dogs this year, but much like the Raiders they seem to be oscillating between close victories and abysmal thumpings. This means that Canberra need to be hyper-focused for the entirety of the game – they drop their guard against lower rank teams way too often.

Team list thoughts

As you should all be aware by now young Albert Hopoate has done the very sensible thing and opted out of this game in favour of his sister’s wedding. Given his form in first grade so far I have no doubt he won’t be out long, even if he has to wait in line to get back on the wing.

Savage makes his return in Hoppa’s spot, leaving Kris as the starting FB. I personally would be quite happy for this to be the ongoing arrangement for the foreseeable future as Kris is really starting to warm to the role.

The surprising omission this round is Corey Harawira-Naera. He played good minutes against Brisbane, but was only given less than a quarter of game time in the last two matches. Sticky has decided to rest him in favour of Ata Mariota.

The Dogs remain riddled with injuries with game-breakers Addo-Carr and Kikau still sidelined.


Normally I’d pick two or four players in mirror positions, but this game has a different contest in the limelight: Sebastian Kris vs Matt Burton. Burton’s torpedoes/bombs are notorious for custodians to field and Kris will need to be particularly calm waiting for these lofted kicks to come down. Kris’ kick returns have been critical to Canberra getting off their line in recent games, so here’s hoping he can keep them going.


The Raiders have a chance to get some real momentum here: a third successive win will mean more confidence in the run into Origin. Depending on results this round they could even be within reaching distance of the top 8, something previously unthinkable this season.

Raiders by 12+!

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One comment

  1. With CHN dropped to reggies the bench consists of 3 props and hooker. What’s the plan if we get an HIA or an injury in the outside backs, are we planning on moving the big red horse to the wing?


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