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Raiders vs Bulldogs match day guide and preview

Match day guide and preview for the Raiders NRL Magic Round game against the Bulldogs on Saturday 15 May 2021.

Who, when and where?

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Canberra Raiders

Saturday 15 May, 3pm

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, QLD

Click here to buy tickets for Magic Round.

Ladder position and recent form

Canberra Raiders 12th | 173 points for | 209 points against | 3 wins & 6 losses | LLLLL

The Raiders form went from bad to worse with their fifth straight loss coming against the Knights in Wagga Wagga last week.

Their second halves have been concerning for a few weeks now, but it hit a new low against the Knights as they squandered a 16-0 half time lead to lose 24-16.

They have now been outscored 93-8 in the second halves over the past five weeks with Coach Ricky Stuart seemingly out of ideas.

They remarkably sit just one win behind the 7th placed Titans but if they lose this one, you can put a line through the Raiders for 2021.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16th | 92 points for | 280 points against | 1 win & 8 losses | LLWLL

The Bulldogs recorded their first win of the season against the Sharks in Round 8 but have since regressed with heavy defeats against the Eels and Dragons.

It has been a difficult season for Dogs fans as they sit dead last for points scored and have conceded the most points.

Wins are going to be hard to come by this season by they are playing a side low on confidence and would fancy themselves if they are close at half time.

Team selection

Canberra Raiders

Former captain Josh Hodgson returns to the side having been named on the bench. Tom Starling remains the starting hooker with Siliva Havili dropping out of the 17.

The Raiders had a few injury casualties from last week with Jordan Rapana (hamstring), Joe Tapine (knee) and Ryan Sutton (elbow) all ruled out.

Young Semi Valemei comes onto the wing for Rapana while veterans Ryan James and Dunamis Lui come onto the bench with Hudson Young named to start at lock.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 14:Josh Hodgson of the Raiders passes the ball during the round 1 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium on March 14, 2021 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Former captain Josh Hodgson will return for the Raiders clash with the Bulldogs in Brisbane. Getty

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

The big news out of the Bulldogs team list is halfback Kyle Flanagan dropping out of the 17.

Flanagan was benched during their loss last week and has now lost his spot with Brandon Wakeham to partner Jake Averillo in the halves.

Nick Meaney shifts to centre to replace the injured Corey Allan with Tuipulotu Katoa on the wing. Dylan Napa returns and will start in the front row.

Click here for full team lists.

The players to watch

Raiders – Josh Hodgson

Hodgson has been in the headlines plenty over the past couple of weeks after surrendering the captaincy and rumours of him leaving the club.

Despite the outside noise surrounding him, Hodgson is an experienced campaigner so should be able to handle the pressure.

He was set to be relegated to the bench before he injured his calf and that’s where he will start this game with Starling the preferred number 9.

Ricky Stuart will have to figure out the best way to use Hodgson and it will be interesting to see if he plays him alongside Starling or as his direct replacement.

Given the Raiders second half woes, Hodgson could come in handy with his ability to control the team when the game gets tight.

Bulldogs – Nick Cotric

The former Raider plays against his old side for the first time since leaving at the end of last season.

It has been a difficult season so far for Cotric, he has managed just one try playing on the wing for a side that struggles to score.

He still averages over 130 run metres a game and is 12th in the NRL for tackle breaks with 37.

Cotric burst onto the scene for the Raiders as an 18-year-old and played 93 games across four seasons in the lime green so will likely have a bit of extra motivation to lead his side to an upset win.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01:  Nick Cotric of the Raiders celebrates a try during the round five NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Parramatta Eels at GIO Stadium on April 1, 2017 in Canberra, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Nick Cotric celebrating a try for the Raiders in his debut season back in 2017. Getty

Last 5 meetings

The Raiders come into this clash having won their past four straight matches against the Bulldogs, but there have been some interesting clashes.

The Bulldogs looked like causing the upset of the season in their matchup last year, leading 20-12 at half time. However, Jack Wighton led a spirited Raiders fightback as Canberra claimed a 14-point win.

In 2018, Blake Austin came off the bench to inspire a miracle Raiders comeback win. Trailing by 14 points with just over five minutes remaining, the Raiders scored three quick tries to break the Bulldogs hearts.

The Bulldogs only win in the previous five matchups came in 2017 with Adam Elliott scoring a double.

Pre match predictions

Corey Carnage: Corey Horsburgh and Corey Harawira-Naera to combine for over 200 run metres and two tries.

The Benchwarmers: It’s Dunamis Lui in for David Spade and Ryan James for Rob Schneider as the bench middles each clock over 100 run metres and tackle at over 90% efficiency. – Denholm Samaras

Other match details

The NRL match is live on Fox League Channel 502 at 3pm. You can also stream it live on KAYO.

You can listen to the game on MIX (106.3), Radio 2CC Canberra (1206AM) and 666 ABC Canberra.

The NRL’s Magic Round sees all eight matches played in Brisbane over three days. This is the second Magic Round in NRL history after it started in 2019 before being scrapped in 2020 due to COVID.

There will be live entertainment at the ground during the weekend.

  • Friday: Sneaky Sound System; 6.45pm and 8.50pm
  • Saturday: Stafford Brothers; 3.45pm, 6.10pm and 8.30pm
  • Sunday: Busby Marou; 2.35pm, 4.50pm and 7.10pm
  • *Set times subject to change

Click here for full Magic Round schedule.

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