THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
Canberra Raiders v St George Illawarra Dragons
Canberra Stadium, 7:00pm
Raiders $2.95, Dragons $1.41 (Sportingbet)
Raiders: Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson, Danny Galea, Joel Thompson, Daniel Vidot, Josh McCrone, Sam Williams, Brett White, Alan Tongue (c), Dane Tilse, Joe Picker, Bronson Harrison, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Glen Buttriss, Josh Miller, Trevor Thurling, Sam Mataora.
Dragons: Darius Boyd, Brett Morris, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper (c), Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien, Dan Hunt, Kyle Stanley, Michael Weyman, Beau Scott, Ben Creagh, Matt Prior. Interchange: Adam Cuthbertson, Jon Green, Trent Merrin, Mitch Rein
The Dragons haven’t won at Canberra Stadium since 2000. It’s an amazing statistic considering the relative success the Dragons have had over the last 10 years compared to the Raiders. Last year the Dragons went to Canberra Stadium when the Raiders were right in the middle of their purple patch which launched them to 6th position come finals time. And I remember the clash that took place in 2009 when the Raiders, who were heavy outsiders, went all out against the Dragons who were the premiership favourites in a game full of hard hits, concussions and brawls. I can’t say I condone violence but it was a game for the ages and a real throw back to the old days.
A bash and barge attitude might be the best way for the Raiders to have any chance of winning tonight, because it’s fair to say they won’t win on skill or by grinding it out. The Raiders were kept scoreless by the Storm last week which was the first time they had ever been kept scoreless at Canberra Stadium but the Dragons however were clinical in their defeat of the Sharks, scoring 18 points in the first 18 minutes on their way to a 38-8 victory.
It’s hard to pin-point where and how the Raiders will penetrate the Dragons line and coach David Furner will be earning his pay tonight.
Mike’s Best Bet: $80 on the Dragons -5.5 @ $1.78
Starting Bank: $2000, Current Bank $2478.42
(Team lists sourced from nrl.com.au)