The poor old Warriors are feeling a bit hard done by after refereeing blunders played a part in last week's 24-22 loss to the Eels.
Tough as it must be to swallow, all they can do is get on with the job of trying to make the finals, and that basically means winning at least five of their final six games.
They won't get any free rides from the Raiders, who are eyeing a top two finish after last week's impressive road win over Penrith.
Ricky Stuart will be urging his side to stay focused against a desperate Warriors.
Match: Warriors v Raiders
Round 20 -
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
Warriors: Jazz Tevaga moves from lock to hooker in a late switch with Karl Lawton going to the bench. Lawton had been named originally as the replacement for suspended hooker Isaac Luke. Lachlan Burr takes Tevaga's place at lock while Sam Lisone and Adam Pompey drop out of the final squad. Kodi Nikorima is back at five-eighth after missing last week's narrow loss to Parramatta with an ankle injury. Chanel Harris-Tavita shifts to the bench. Luke and Adam Keighran were the first two cuts to the 21-man squad named on Thursday. The Warriors have lost their past five games at Mt Smart Stadium.
Raiders: Are 1-17. Sam Williams and Hudson Young are the two players to drop out. No injury concerns for the Green Machine, who flew direct to New Zealand after their win at Penrith on Sunday due to the short turnaround. Sebastian Kris and Royce Hunt were the two players left out the squad 24 hours out from kick-off. Josh Hodgson will play his 100th NRL game.
Match: Warriors v Raiders
Round 20 -
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-SheckFullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
Winger for Warriors is number 2 Gerard BealeWinger for Raiders is number 2 Bailey Simonsson
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Peta HikuCentre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod Croker
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Blake AyshfordCentre for Raiders is number 4 Michael Oldfield
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Ken MaumaloWinger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi NikorimaFive-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Blake GreenHalfback for Raiders is number 7 Aidan Sezer
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Agnatius PaasiProp for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
Hooker for Warriors is number 13 Jazz TevagaHooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Leeson Ah MauProp for Raiders is number 10 Iosia Soliola
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Adam Blair2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 John Bateman
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Isaiah Papali'i2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
Lock for Warriors is number 14 Lachlan BurrLock for Raiders is number 13 Joseph Tapine
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Bunty AfoaInterchange for Raiders is number 14 Siliva Havili
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Chanel Harris-TavitaInterchange for Raiders is number 15 Emre Guler
Interchange for Warriors is number 18 Karl LawtonInterchange for Raiders is number 16 Corey Horsburgh
Interchange for Warriors is number 20 Josh CurranInterchange for Raiders is number 17 Dunamis Lui
- Referee: Matt Cecchin
- Referee: Gavin Badger
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
It's the battle of the metre-eaters with Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (3307m) and Canberra custodian Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (3015m) ranking first and third for yardage this year. Adding to the theatre, Nicoll-Klokstad is facing his former club for the first time and will want to show the Warriors they made a huge mistake by not offering him more NRL chances.
For the Warriors to win
They have the power up front to match the Raiders but do they have the stamina and will to do it? They weren't far off against Parra and need to play with the same effort on Friday. Someone has to take some pressure off Blake Green in the play-making department, while RTS and Maumalo must provide strong carries from the back.
For the Raiders to win
Last week's defeat of the Panthers was the final piece of proof that Ricky Stuart has his team believing they are good enough to go all the way. They need to continue to build their game plan around defence and make sure they don't get sucked into playing Warriors football.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Raiders were great on Sunday, but now they have to travel to New Zealand on a short turnaround. Ricky Stuart won’t let there be any excuses. Defensively they are very, very good – that’s what wins premierships. As for the Warriors, it is pretty much do or die. They’re back at Mt Smart which will help, but I don’t know if they’ll have the physicality or pace of game that the Raiders can play at. I think this will be goodbye to the Warriors for 2019. Raiders by 6
The unassuming Ken Maumalo has proven a stats beast in 2019. The Warriors winger leads the competition for post-contact metres (1008) and is only one behind top try-scorer Maika Sivo with 12 four-pointers.
And another thing ...
This will be the first meeting between these teams in 2019 after the Warriors completed a 2-0 sweep last season. Canberra looked to have victory sewn up in the first clash last year before losing 20-19 in a heart-breaker. They failed to square the ledger in the return meeting, going down 20-16 at Mt Smart Stadium.