Match day guide and preview for the Raiders NRL Round 11 game against the Storm.
Who, when and where?
Canberra Raiders vs Melbourne Storm
Saturday 22 May, 7.35pm
GIO Stadium Canberra, ACT
Head-to-head record: Played 49. Storm 33 wins. Raiders 14 wins. 2 draws.
Ladder position and recent form
Canberra Raiders 8th | 193 points for | 227 points against | 4 wins & 6 losses | WLLLL
The Raiders broke a five-match losing streak with a gutsy 20-18 victory over the Bulldogs last week in Brisbane.
It was a much-needed win for a side that has looked short of confidence, but it was hardly a convincing win. They showed plenty of character to fight back and get the win considering they had Jack Wighton sin binned and Josh Papalii sidelined.
Despite the win, the Raiders would have to improve on their performance to even have a chance against the Storm.
Melbourne Storm 3rd | 336 points for | 126 points against | 8 win & 2 losses | WWWWW
The reigning premiers are once again one of the NRL heavyweights in 2021 and have been belting teams in recent weeks.
They have won their last six matches with the closest margin being a 16-point win over the Roosters.
The Storm have always been known as a tough defensive side, but they have turned themselves into a powerhouse attacking side. They have scored over 40 points in five of their last six matches and could do it again if the Raiders are off.
The Raiders win over the Bulldogs came at a mighty cost with Josh Papalii (3 weeks), Jack Wighton and Josh Hodgson (1 week) all copping suspensions.
Veteran Sam Williams has been named to replace Wighton in the halves with Dunamis Lui to start at prop in place of Papalii. Ryan Sutton has been named on the bench as he returns from an elbow injury.
Brad Schneider will make his debut become Raider #376 after being named to replace Hodgson as the bench utility. Schneider has played seven matches for the Raiders NSW Cup side this year, scoring three tries, kicking 22 goals and racking up six try-assists.
The Storm have a few issues of their own and will be without stars Harry Grant, Cameron Munster and Ryan Papenhuyzen who copped a heavy knock last week. Ryley Jacks and Tyson Smoothy are also out after picking up injuries last week.
Nicho Hynes will fill in at fullback once again with Chris Lewis named to partner Jahrome Hughes in the halves. Fox Sports is reporting that Cooper Johns – who is named on the extended bench – could come into the side to replace Lewis at five-eighth.
Brandon Smith returns from suspension and will start at hooker with Aaron Pene named on the bench.
Last 6 meetings and GIO Stadium history
- 2020 Preliminary Final: Storm 30 – 10Raiders at Suncorp Stadium
- 2020 Round 9: Raiders 14 – 20 Storm at GIO Stadium
- 2020 Round 3: Storm 6 – 22 Raiders at AAMI Park
- 2019 Qualifying Final: Storm 10 – 12 Raiders at AAMI Park
- 2019 Round 22: Storm 18– 22 Raiders at AAMI Park
- 2019 Round 2: Raiders 10 – 22 Storm at GIO Stadium
These sides should be very familiar with each other having met six times over the past two seasons.
It’s been evenly matched with both sides winning three a piece, including a finals win each.
However, the Storm currently hold the bragging rights having thumped the Raiders in the Preliminary Final last year.
The Storm also have a good recent record in Canberra having won four of their past five matches at GIO Stadium. They also have a dominant record over Canberra all together having won 33 of their 49 matches with 2 draws.
The players to watch
Raiders – George Williams
Wighton has become such an important player for Canberra, but his absence now opens the door for Williams to step up.
His halves partner Sam Williams is more of an organising player than Wighton which could allow George a bit more freedom to run the ball and play a more off the cuff.
The Storm are such a formidable opponent it just feels like Williams will have to play out of his skin to give the Raiders a chance.
Storm – Nicho Hynes
The Storm have this incredible ability to find talented players that just come into their system and play outstanding footy.
Hynes is the perfect example of that and even with Papenhuyzen out, the Storm have hardly missed a beat with Hynes filling in.
He was simply incredible last week against the Dragons playing at fullback with his ball playing skills a standout.
With Munster and Papenhuyzen still out, expect Hynes to get plenty of touches again and cause the Raiders all sorts of issues.
Pre match predictions
Semi-Pro: Semi Valemei to rack up over 150 run metres and score two tries.
Yosemite Sam: Raiders clubman ‘Yosemite’ Sam Williams will set his teammates up with two-try assists coming from bullet passes. – Denholm Samaras
Other match details
The NRL match is live on Fox League Channel 502 at 7.30pm. You can also stream it live on Kayo.
Gates open at 5.20pm. Katrina Fanning Shield – UC Stars v Goulburn City Bulldogs: 5.30pm.
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