The Raiders continue their semi-final push with a trip across the Tasman.
Canberra sit two wins outside the top eight coming into this round and the equation for them is simple – keep winning!
That’s exactly what they have done over the past two weeks in delivering confidence-boosting performances over Souths and then Cronulla to keep their slim top eight hopes alive.
New Zealand on the other hand are looking at another year of disappointment and are now on a five-game losing streak after suffering a 16-point loss at the hands of the bottom-placed Newcastle Knights in Round 22.
Punters have been waiting all season for CANBERRA to click into gear and it appears as though they finally are.
Ricky Stuart’s men began the season as one of the premiership fancies but have struggled for most of their campaign before big wins over the bunnies and Sharks.
Most people are now asking where has that form been for most of the season?
The Green Machine’s much vaunted attack has clicked in recent weeks averaging 31 points in the past fortnight while restricting the points of their opposition to just 15 during that span.
When you compare that to their overall season stats of 21.4 and 20.2 ppg respectively, you can see something has finally started to happen in the nation’s capital. The big question remains whether it’s too late or not.
NEW ZEALAND hasn’t shown much in the way of fight the past few weeks.
It has always seemed, and this has been for quite a few years, that if it’s too hard then the Warriors simply turn it up. They have put themselves in a position to win several more games of footy than they already have in 2017 but just haven’t gone on with it when presented with the opportunity.
Last week’s loss against Newcastle was their equal largest defeat of the season while their five-game skid has been defined by an average loss of 13 points or more in the past month.
CANBERRA are aiming for four straight wins over the Warriors for the first time this century.
Prior to this hat-trick of wins it was the Kiwis who dominated with five consecutive wins of their own but the destiny of this game may come down to the venue itself – Mt Smart Stadium.
Although they have won just seven games all season, New Zealand has won six of those at home which could be an ominous sign for the Raiders who don’t enjoy crossing the ditch.
Canberra has a poor record at Mt Smart with nine losses in their past 11 visits and most of those defeats have been by double figure margins.
Is there anyone willing to take the Warriors 13+ ($8.90 @ Palmerbet) Winning Margin?
You cannot go past the Raiders here.
They are short and their record in New Zealand is poor but how can you really trust the home side after everything they have done again this season?
Canberra has looked the team that went all the way to the Prelim Final last season in their recent resurgence. Jordan Rapana is back to his damaging best and partner in crime Joey Leilua is causing havoc, while Josh Hodgson simply killed them up the middle in last week’s big win over Cronulla.
They only have to replicate that performance to get the two points here.
NICK COTRIC FIRST TRYSCORER – the Raiders flyer has scored tries in seven straight games