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It’s all on the line for the Canberra Raiders as they take on the Sydney Roosters looking to keep their finals hopes alive. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary as Round 25 begins from 7:50pm (AEST).
There are a number of games this weekend which have no bearing on the finals. This is not one of them. For Canberra, a win gives them a very good chance of qualifying for the eight; a loss, and they are out. Meanwhile, the Roosters are still an outside chance of finishing in the top four, but will finish 6th with a loss.
After a number of mid-season setbacks, the Raiders have dug deep and won five of their last eight to get to the precipice of finals. They showed the same resilience last round against the Warriors, coming back from 16-0 down to win 28-16.
Jordan Rapana was massive for the Raiders in that game, with most of their attack starting from him. With Jack Wighton still not at his best, the pressure will be on Rapana to repeat the dose against the Roosters.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad gets a start at fullback, with Rapana shifting to the wing to replace the injured Bailey Simonsson. Joseph Tapine has been named to play but must be in some doubt with his knee injury. Iosia Soliola has been named to start, with Ryan Sutton moving to the bench.
At 22-12 down to the Rabbitohs, the Roosters were firmly in the game with 30 minutes remaining last Friday night. It ended in a massacre, with the undermanned Tricolours failing to cope with the season-ending injury to Joey Manu, after he was clobbered by Latrell Mitchell.
James Tedesco is again key to the Roosters’ chances, and will be heavily involved in attack and defence. The Roosters’ pack was badly beaten last round but some reinforcements have arrived in time for the Raiders clash.
Angus Crichton makes his return from suspension, while Josh Morris, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Adam Keighran are all named to play. Lachlan Lam will start at five-eighth with Sam Walker on the bench. Siosiua Taukeiaho has avoided serious injury and will play.
The Raiders have improved over the last couple of months, but apart from a win against an out-of-form Eels, they have struggled to beat teams higher than them on the ladder.
Whilst the loss of Joey Manu will be felt again, the Roosters pack has a much stronger look to it this week.
If they can get parity with the Raiders’ pack, the likes of Tedesco and Walker should create enough chances to win.
Sydney Roosters by 4
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Harley Smith-Shields 3. Sebastian Kris 4. Matthew Timoko 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Matt Frawley 8. Josh Papalii’i 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead (c) 13. Iosia Soliola
Interchange: 14. Emre Guler 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Siliva Havili
1. James Tedesco (c) 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Adam Keighran 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Drew Hutchison 7. Lachlan Lam 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Isaac Liu
Interchange: 14. Sam Walker 15. Egan Butcher 16. Ben Marschke 17. Tukupa Hau Tapuha