Match day guide and preview for the Raiders Round 12 game against the Roosters.
Who, when and where?
Sydney Roosters vs Canberra Raiders
Saturday 29 May, 7.35pm
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Head-to-head record: Played 69. Roosters 37 wins. Raiders 30 wins. 2 draws.
Ladder position and recent form
Canberra Raiders 11th | 203 points for | 261 points against | 4 wins & 7 losses | LWLLL
The Raiders have been in freefall having lost six of their last seven matches, with their only win a two-point triumph over the last-placed Bulldogs.
It gets brought up after every loss, but the Raiders just continue to collapse in the second half. After losing the second half 22-0 in their 34-10 loss to the Storm last week, Canberra has now been outscored 133-20 after half time in their past seven matches.
It doesn’t seem like Ricky Stuart has many answers at this point as the Raiders finals hopes get slimmer by the week.
Sydney Roosters 5th | 300 points for | 181 points against | 7 wins & 4 losses | LWLWW
The Roosters are coming off a shock 34-16 loss to the Broncos last week at the SCG to make it two losses in three weeks.
Apart from last weeks loss, the Roosters have been able to beat the teams below them on the ladder while losing to the sides above them in the Rabbitohs, Storm and Eels.
They have long been a premiership contender but based on the first 11 rounds of the season, they are a fair way off the top teams in 2021.
The Raiders welcome back Jack Wighton and Josh Hodgson from suspension in a much-needed boost for the side.
Sam Williams will partner Wighton in the halves after the Raiders granted English halfback George Williams an immediate release from the club.
Jordan Rapana has also been named to return from injury in place of Semi Valemei on the wing.
Sia Soliola returns on the bench with Hudson Young dropped to the reserves. Joe Tapine is still at least a week away from returning.
The Roosters will be without suspended duo Angus Crichton and Victor Radley who both lost out at the tribunal on Tuesday night.
Isaac Liu moves into the 13 jumper vacated by Radley with Daniel Suluka-Fifita coming onto the bench. Josh Morris returns in the centres with young Joseph Suaalii dropping back to the reserves.
Last 6 meetings
- 2020 Semi Final: Roosters 18 – 22 Raiders at SCG
- 2020 Round 17: Raiders 6 – 18 Roosters at GIO Stadium
- 2020 Round 10: Roosters 20 – 24 Raiders at SCG
- 2019 Grand Final: Rooster 14 – 8 Raiders at ANZ Stadium
- 2019 Round 21: Raiders 18– 22 Roosters at GIO Stadium
- 2019 Round 9: Roosters 30 – 24 Raiders at Suncorp Stadium
These two have developed a healthy rivalry over the past two seasons, having met six times and in two big finals.
The Raiders got the better of the Roosters in a brutal Semi Final last year that had both teams exhausted by the end of it.
The most memorable encounter between the sides is the infamous 2019 Grand Final that the Roosters won in controversial fashion, but this is a Canberra website, so we won’t discuss that any further. Also, the highlights video will be of the Raiders Semi Final win last year so enjoy.
The players to watch
Raiders – Jack Wighton
Wighton missed last week through suspension and would be chomping at the bit to get back out there and help his side.
He may also have some extra incentive to play well with the NSW Blues five-eighth spot up for grabs.
Wighton has often been the player Canberra turns to when they need some inspiration, and they are in desperate need of him to deliver on Saturday.
Roosters – Sam Walker
When Luke Keary went down with an ACL injury in Round 3, many were writing the Roosters off, but Walker has been a revelation in his debut season.
The 18-year-old looks set to be a star of the NRL for many years to come, ranking fifth in the NRL for try assists with 10 from just 8 matches while he also has 11 linebreak assists. When his forwards are on top, he becomes extremely dangerous so the Raiders will need to win that middle battle to avoid giving him too much space to work.
2021 Indigenous Round
Round 12 of the NRL is Indigenous Round and the Raiders have three Indigenous players lining up against the Roosters. Jack Wighton (Wiradjuri), Sebastian Kris (Mabuiag & Saibai – Torres Strait Islands) & Ryan James (Bundjalung) will all run out in the new look Indigenous Jersey on Saturday.
The Raiders 2021 Indigenous Jersey was designed by artist Rayne Huddleston, a Ngandi and Nyiyaparli man from Urulah Cultural Art, and was based on initial concepts from Justine Brown, a Ngunnawal woman from Mulleun Dreaming, and students in the NRL School to Work program at Queanbeyan High School.
James recently spoke about how the Indigenous Round concept has grown and how proud he is to run out for the occassion.
Pre match predictions
Wighton the match-winner: Proud member of the Wiradjuri Nation, Jack Wighton to step up in Indigenous Round and score two tries in a Man of the Match performance.
Front row seats: Get your popcorn ready for another epic middle-forward battle with the Raiders ultimately winning the run metres and post contact metres stats. – 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: 4.45pm
NSWRL Women’s Premiership – Central Coast Roosters v Cronulla Sharks: 5.30pm
If attending, click here for information about Central Coast Stadium.