The low-ranking Cowboys could face one of the longest nights of their season when they face an in-form, focused and confident Raiders outfit at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
Sitting last of the premiership contenders, nothing left to play for, suffering without Thurston and having had just one win from their past nine, there is no sugar-coating how hard this game will be for North Queensland.
The Raiders, on the other hand, still have a very real chance of making the finals. They are in ninth on the ladder on equal competition points with the eighth-ranked Broncos, have won three on the trot including a comprehensive slaying of the Dragons last week and are playing at home with a top eight finish in their sights.
It is little wonder Canberra are the shortest-priced team of the round currently at $1.11 through Ladbrokes.com.au, while the Cowboys are the longest-priced of the week at $7.
Hard to see anything but a win by the Green Machine, even despite the fact that the Cowboys won the last match between these two back in Round eight, which will give Canberra four straight wins for the first time since 2005.
Although we see no point betting on the Cowboys, don’t bet too much against them either. With the Raiders often accused of matching the form of their rivals, this could be a closer contest than the bookies believe.
Skipper Alan Tongue celebrates his 200th first grade game and fans are hoping after the elation of last week that the Raiders don’t choke and suffer what would be an embarrassing loss to say the least.
Footy Tip of the Match – Raiders to win by 5 – 8 points at Ladbrokes.com.au
Current Head-to-Head Odds:
Raiders $1.11 – Cowboys $7 Ladbrokes.com.au
NRLleague Footy Tip of the Match:
The margin in this one is likely to surprise many as even though the Raiders will win, it could be closer than the bookies think. That is why we are tipping Canberra to win by 5 – 8 points at $6 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Round 25 Raiders Team:
1. Josh Dugan 2. Joel Monaghan 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Adam Mogg 5. Daniel Vidot 6. Terry Campese 7. Josh McCrone 8. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs 9. Alan Tongue 10. David Shillington 11. Joe Picker 12. Bronson Harrison 13. Trevor Thurling
Bench: 14. Glen Buttriss 15. Shaun Fensom 16. Dane Tilse 17. Scott Logan
Reserves: 18. Danny Galea 21. Troy Thompson
Round 25 Cowboys Team:
1. Matthew Bowen 2. Michael Bani 3. Ty Williams 4. Ashley Graham 5. John Williams 6. Grant Rovelli 7. Aaron Payne 8. Matt Scott 9. Anthony Watts 10. Willie Mason 11. Scott Bolton 12. Leeson Ah Mau 13. Ben Harris
Bench: 14. Clint Amos 15. Nick Slyney 16. Carl Webb 17. James Tamou