Preview: Wests Tigers v Raiders
VENUE & TIME: Leichhardt Oval, Sunday, June 20, 3.00pm (AEST).
COVERAGE: Fox Sports
HEAD TO HEADPlayed 19, Tigers 10, Raiders 9
LAST TIME: Tigers 35 – Raiders 22 at Canberra Stadium, Round 4, 2010
WALKING WOUNDED: Centre Blake Ayshford (groin) and forward Keith Galloway (hand) return to the Tigers’ line-up this week, but utility Liam Fulton is still looking at next week to make his return from a shoulder injury. The Tigers will field new recruit Wade McKinnon at full-back in a move that allows Beau Ryan to shift to his more suited position of wing. The Raiders’ three Origin stars, David Shillington, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Joel Monaghan, have all been named, but coach David Furner has gone with a seven-man bench as cover. Full-back Josh Dugan remains on the sidelines with the knee injury he suffered a fortnight ago against the Titans.
FORM: The Tigers were on a bit of a roll before last week’s bye, winning three on the trot to burst into the all-important top-four. Their most recent win was a patient seven-point victory over a desperate Bulldogs side at a drenched ANZ Stadium. That result proved the usually-flamboyant Tigers do have the ability to tough out a victory in trying conditions. The Raiders blew an ideal opportunity to secure a third-straight win last Saturday night when they fumbled their way to a 8-16 defeat at the hands of a depleted Cowboys. Canberra made plenty of breaks in the match, but paid dearly for some terrible last tackle options and some old fashioned impatience when in good field position. Star five-eighth Terry Campese was the chief culprit.
WHO’S HOT: Robbie Farah once again missed out on Origin selection, but it wasn’t because of his recent form. Farah actually got the better of NSW incumbent Michael Ennis in his most recent hit-out; the Tigers’19-12 win over the Bulldogs in Round 13. His kicking game was good and he was dangerous out of dummy-half, scoring the try that gave his side the lead. If there are any clubs on the lookout for a decent full-back at good price then they should look no further than Canberra’s David Milne. Milne was a great form for Souths-Logan in the Queensland Cup before he was given a shot in first-grade last week in place of the injured Josh Dugan. Milne was undoubtedly the Raiders’ most potent attacking weapon against the Cowboys, making 285m from 24 energy-charged runs.
WE THINK: The Tigers are fresh off the bye and have been untouched by Origin representation which should ensure they are well-placed to dismantle an inconsistent Canberra side, coming off a disappointing trip to Townsville. Marshall and Farah have returned to form in recent weeks and big Englishman Gareth Ellis is providing the forward presence this club has always craved. The messy Raiders will need to improve their last-tackle options if they are to be any chance. A near-capacity Leichhardt Oval will only further increase the Tigers’ stocks in this one. Tigers by 12.
Laurie Daley’s Preview
Wests Tigers v Canberra, Leichhardt Oval, Sunday 3pm (EST)
The Raiders are going good with the football in hand but still have defensive issues. They just can’t hang in through tough periods in a game, they leak points. And with the Tigers at Leichhardt on a dry Sunday afternoon I think the Raiders will struggle and the locals will watch a big win from their team.
If you believe the trends we should belt the raiders on sunday. Logic though suggests it depends which tigers mob turns up. Coming off a bye i’d like to think we’re pumped for this and that things will go swimmingly. Having McKinnon at fullback only aids our attack and defence and so does the return of Ayshford and hopefully Galloway. All the signs are good for us but it won’t mean much if we don’t turn up and put the effort in.
Wests Tigers v Raiders Preview
NRL.com Thu, 17 Jun 2010
Sunday afternoon football at Leichhardt Oval… it’s a rare occurrence these days but one that should be savoured.
The home-side Wests Tigers are in pretty good form and deserve a big turn-out for this match against a Raiders side getting close to desperation.
Sitting in third place on the NRL ladder thanks to a three-match winning sequence and a bye last week, the Tigers have a chance to cement a place in the top four here – but they also know a loss could have them slide all the way down to the edge of the finals zone.
If they are to be serious contenders, it is games like this, at home, where they should win and win well.
Since beating the Bulldogs two weeks ago the side is rested and is unaffected by Origin, giving them little excuse.
Wade McKinnon will play his first game at fullback since transferring from the Warriors, which sees Beau Ryan shift to the wing and Mitch Brown miss out.
Blake Ayshford comes back into the side in the centres, pushing Geoff Daniela to the bench. Daniel Fitzhenry and Keith Galloway have been added as extra bench men, with two to be culled before kick-off.
The Raiders must be kicking themselves after not beating the under-strength Cowboys last weekend in Townsville. The result has them back in 11th on the ladder and still two competition points outside the top eight.
The draw shapes up in a way that a loss here will have them four points off the finals zone, something they can ill-afford as we push further into the back half of the year.
A win will keep them on the pace and allow them the right to keep dreaming about the 2010 finals series.
They will be hoping their three Origin stars can back up, with Joel Monaghan, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and David Shillington all named. Shillington will be playing his 100th game.
Adam Mogg, Joe Picker and Scott Logan all move back to the bench which has seven named to provide potential cover.
Justin Carney is the only new name, with Danny Galea missing.
Watch out Wests Tigers: The Raiders have had most of their success in attack heading to the right side, where Joel Thompson is becoming quite a star. The Raiders have scored 21 tries on the right side of the park compared to just seven on the left, so it makes sense they will continue to focus here.
Thompson is averaging 95 metres and has 13 line-breaks in just 12 games. He also has eight tries and 53 tackle-breaks. If the Raiders are to get the result, Thompson needs to keep his form up.
Watch out Raiders: The Wests Tigers are primed to attack from distance, like they often do, but more so against the Raiders. The home side has scored 13 tries from over halfway in season 2010, the most of any side, and with the daytime forecast predicting a dry track the side will be sending the ball to the edges on numerous occasions.
Giving them more reason to do so is the fact the Raiders have conceded seven tries from over halfway – the fourth worst numbers in the NRL.
Where it will be won: 80-minute effort. The Raiders know better than most that one half of football isn’t enough to get the competition points. Earlier this season they led the Wests Tigers comfortably at halftime only to be run down.
Both teams have had issues with being at their peak for an entire match and need to lift in this regard. The Raiders really have issues in the last 20 minutes, where they have scored just 25 points all year and conceded 91. That’s an average 2.1 for and 7.6 against.
By comparison, the Wests Tigers hit their straps in the final 20 minutes, having scored 108 points and conceded 62. That’s an average 9 for and 5.2 against.
The Tigers’ weak part of the match is the second 20 minutes of the first half, where they average just 4.2 points and concede 7.3 points. Interestingly, the corresponding period is Canberra’s best part of each match.
The history: Played 19; Wests Tigers 10, Raiders 9. The Wests Tigers have won four of the past five between the clubs, including an incredible comeback win earlier this season. That made it three straight against the Raiders.
The two teams have only met twice at Leichhardt with the honours shared one apiece. Neither team has ever really blown apart the other, with the record margin of victory being 21 and 20 points respectively.
The Wests Tigers have won their past five games against interstate teams at Leichhardt.
Conclusion: The home-side Wests Tigers should really get the job done here. They are hitting their straps, they are rested and relaxed and they have the firepower to trouble the Raiders. Plus, the Raiders have three players backing up.
Anything is possible and the Raiders are getting close to desperate, but stick with the black and golds.
Match officials: Referees – Jared Maxwell & Ashley Klein; Sideline Officials – Paul Holland & Grant Atkins; Video Ref – Sean Hampstead.
Televised: Channel Nine – Delayed 4pm; Fox Sports – Delayed 6pm.
- Statistics: NRL Stats.
Wests Tigers v Canberra Raiders
June 18, 2010
Sunday, Leichhardt Oval, 3pm
Referees: Jared Maxwell, Ashley Klein
Head to head: Tigers 10, Raiders 9
Last clash: Tigers 35-22 at Canberra Stadium (rd 4, 2010)
TAB SportsBet: Tigers $1.40, Raiders $2.90
FootyTab: Raiders (+6.5)
The Tigers love getting back to Leichhardt Oval on a Sunday afternoon. Provided the weather is OK, the ground is bound to be at near capacity, and that will give the team a huge boost. The Tigers are in good form, having bounced back from a run of four straight losses to win three in a row and return to the top eight. Their 50-10 loss to the Rabbitohs brought them to a crossroads this season, and they have responded very well to beat the Knights, Warriors and Bulldogs.
Every time the Raiders look like they are going to get a move on, something goes wrong. They beat the Dragons on the road, had a bye and then beat the Titans at home, but followed that up with a disappointing loss on the road to the Cowboys last weekend. The Raiders were without star fullback Josh Dugan for that game, and will have to do without him again here. The Tigers will use new signing Wade McKinnon at fullback, and he should steady things for them after they looked a bit uncertain there recently.