Thursday night footy again Moneyballers, time to get stuck in to all the comps on offer to beef up that bank balance. The NRL Thursday clash has the Dragons flying down to Canberra to try and burn the Raiders. The Red V faithful are hoping the Dragons fire up to try and beat the cold of the capital. The Raiders army wants their team to continue fighting their way up the ladder and become legit contenders this year.
The Raiders hold an impressive record against the Dragons with the Canberra men coming out victorious over 60% of the time. All 7 of the green machine’s rep players backing up after the weekend plus Five-eighth Blake Austin ($6,400), who returns from his niggling hamstring injury means the Raiders are able to field close to their strongest line up yet. on a side note, Captain Jarrod Croker ($7,500) needs just 3 points to become the all-time highest points scorer for the Raiders.
The Dragons thought they dodged injury during rep round until scans revealed Jack de Belin suffered a shoulder injury that will rule him out for six to eight weeks. Their other reps , including Kangaroos centre Josh Dugan ($8,000) and kiwi rep Jason Nightingale ($6,100) will all suit up tonight. It’s safe to say that the Dragons have more closely resembled a gecko in attack and the brunt of that blame has to rest on the halves combo of Gareth Widdop ($6,300) and Benji Marshall ($5,000). The Red V will need to turn this around if they want the win in Canberra.
Aidan Sezer ($5,700)
Sezer gave his origin hopes a big push with an impressive performance for City on Sunday where the five-eighth was the best half on the field. Sezer returns to Canberra aiming to maintain his good form and prove to selectors he’s the man for NSW. Sezer has been a quality buy for the Canberra club, he’s crossed for four tries in six games this year and last week proved he’d be a handy back up kicker should Jarrod Croker ($7,500) go down.
Jordan Rapana ($9,400)
The silky winger has been in thrilling form on the wing and wouldn’t have looked out of place in the New Zealand Team that faced Australia. Rapana gives fans the feeling he’ll do something exciting every time he touches the ball. The 26 year old has formed a potent combo with centre partner Joey Leilua ($8,400), which has helped him cross for eight tries in nine matches.
Joel Thompson ($6,000)
Back from suspension, the off-contract back rower will resume his place in the starting side to do battle against his former club. Since departing the Capital, Thompson has become one of the Dragons’ more consistent performers and he will be looking to rattle some cages as he pushes for a new deal. Thompson has 34 career tries and averages 27 tackles per game.
Euan Aitken ($6,300)
The 20 year old centre has really come to life recently, fresh off a strong performance for Country where he sliced through the D for a nice try. Aitken, who made his NRL debut against the Raiders is facing another challenge, matching up against the in-form Raiders backline. Aitken has proved he’s a rep player in waiting this year, his two tries, 110 avg run metres and 22 tackle busts are testament to that.
TIP: Raiders by 6
That’s Thursday’s tips done and dusted for another week. The Raiders vs. Dragons clashes usually end up being ripper games and I’ll have my Moneyball team picked and ready to rake in the cash. Good luck with your team and please like, share and comment to let me know how you did.