The Raiders head into Saturday night in a near do-or-die situation, as a loss will see them slip further down the ladder while potentially placing them two games out of the top eight with a tough run home ahead of them.
They’ll be challenged by a Broncos side fresh off of their first bye in 2017 (with Origin players returning) and eager to keep pace with the Sharks and Roosters in the top four.
It’s been a stunning turnaround for Ben Hunt, who a mere 18 months ago was leading their charge in the 2015 Grand Final while he now effectively sits as Wayne Bennet’s fourth choice in the halves. Benji Marshall has been handed the number six jersey this week alongside Kodi Nikorima in the halves.
The Raiders are at full strength, with Shannon Boyd returning to the starting side as Luke Bateman sits on the bench. While a loss for the Raiders has the potential to be crippling, a win can see them inch closer to the top eight (should results go their way), knocking on the door of the Eels and the Panthers.
Canberra’s backline has been in sublime attacking form of late, however, the Broncos’ stingy defence will poses challenges for the green machine. As glamorous as both backlines are, the battle of the packs will headline this fixture.
With Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire backing up from Origin, expect Elliott Whitehead, Junior Paulo and co to run hard at them to should they tire late in the game.
While Benji Marshall has an impressive 94% (16/17) win rate against the Raiders, the Broncos are the only side inside the top seven to boast an away record with less than 50% of wins.
With that, we’ll back the Raiders to win a close one (despite losing six games under six points already in 2017).
Raiders by 4.
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