The Canberra Raiders have started to hit form and will be pushing for a spot in the top four when they host a Manly Sea Eeagles outfit trying to stop a two-game slide. Join The Roar for live scores> and coverage from 6pm (AEST).
The Raiders were looking down the barrel of an awful start to the season, but they have resurrected things with three straight victories.
While they are yet to hit top form, the wins have seen a side on the improve with every passing week and they undoubtedly played their best all-around game at home against the New Zealand Warriors last Saturday.
After victories over the Canberra Raiders and Gold Coast Titans where the scoreboard was more convincing than the performance, their defence was put to the test last week and came up with a solid effort.
The Warriors threw plenty at them, particularly in the game’s early going, but they only let in two tries before skipping away in the second half, their right-side attack featuring Joseph Leilua and and Jordan Rapana running rampant.
Given Manly’s defensive effort over the last fortnight, leaking 65 points across the two games, it could be another dominant showing for the green machine.
The Raiders come into this contest unchanged.
Manly, as mentioned have struggled defensively over the last fortnight. After a start to the season that surprised many, pitting them as a side who were the real deal, they have been brought crashing back to Earth with two straight losses by heavy margins.
First it was 35-10 to the St George Illawarra Dragons, then 30-24 to the Melbourne Storm with both at home. Even though they are currently the two top sides, the Sea Eagles needed to pinch at least one win there.
Maybe the biggest difference maker for Manly ahead of this clash is the strength returning to the forward pack. Martin Taupau is back, which pushes Addin Fonua Blake back to the bench, while Nate Myles has also been named on the reserves and is an outside chance of playing.
It’s not that Manly have been soft in the forwards during their losing streak, but Taupau adds plenty to their engine room.
Despite now sitting ninth on the ladder with three victories from their seven games, there are still positives flowing. Their attack looked solid last week and Daly Cherry-Evans is in form like we haven’t seen for a few years.
If he can continue that and Manly’s defence can get back to where it started the season, there’s no reason they can’t start to push back up the ladder in the coming weeks.
The Raiders are tough to beat at home and while Manly need a confidence-restoring win, they are going to have to wait at least another week for it.
Raiders by 10.
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