Following a narrow upset over the Panthers last week, the Raiders continue their sensational late season run with a home match against the Tigers at Canberra Stadium in the first NRL semi on Friday night.
In flying form the Green Machine have snowballed into one of the real premiership contenders of 2010 after a string of sharp victories pushed them into the Top 8 and then an upset win, seventh beating third on the ladder, last week has the Raiders as the hot favourites here.
Sportsbet are currently paying $1.48 for Canberra to win tonight as the home ground advantage coupled with the size, strength and self-confidence of their outfit has them looking very dangerous.
Wests Tigers, on the other hand, are out to $2.72 in the betting markets after they went down in another upset to the Roosters last week in the most thrilling – and longest – game of footy fans have been treated to in years.
Whoever wins here will continue on and play the Premiership favourites, the Dragons, and Bennett will be praying the Tigers can rise and win as the Raiders are definitely the one team that can and has beaten St George.
We are not tipping an upset, however, as there is just too much to like about Campese and Co.
Wests have been unreliable in defence and continue to give away good leads in the later halves of their games, which has them 4-4 over the past two months.
However the Tigers have twice come from behind on the board to beat the Raiders this season, can they make it a hat-trick?
There are injury issues for the Tigers too, namely the brilliant Benji Marshall who could do nothing to save his team in the thriller last week after badly injuring his knee. Marshall is named, but won’t be at full strength.
This all looks really bad in the face of the Raiders who were the first team to string six straight wins together last week and will be seeking number seven.
Both teams are capable of plenty of points, but Canberra’s strikers including Croker, Vidot and Dugan have been flawless and will get the Green Machine over and through to the next – possibly all the way the end in a fairytale finish.
Sportsbet have even opened some special exotic markets including their Most Tries: Dugan v Vidot where Daniel Vidot is the $3 favourite to outscore his teammate!
Further fuelling the Raiders’ fire is captain Alan Tongue being named on the bench, returning from another injury.
Stick with the favourites and check out the exotic markets at Sportsbet for some value bets!
Footy Tip of the Match – Raiders to win by 1 – 6 points at $6 through Ladbrokes.com.au
Current Head-to-Head Odds:
Raiders $1.48 – Tigers $2.72 Ladbrokes.com.au
NRLleague Footy Tip of the Match:
Despite how much better the Raiders are looking on paper, this is finals footy and one should always be wary when Tim Sheens plays down his side. That’s why we are tipping a really close showdown and have money on the Raiders to win by 1 – 6 points at $6 through Sportsbet.
Finals Week 2 Raiders Team:
1. Josh Dugan 2. Reece Robinson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joel Monaghan 5. Daniel Vidot 6. Terry Campese 7. Josh McCrone 8. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs 9. Glen Buttriss 10. David Shillington 11. Joe Picker 12. Bronson Harrison 13. Shaun Fensom
Bench: Alan Tongue 15. Trevor Thurling 16. Dane Tilse 17. Scott Logan
Reserves: 18. Travis Waddell 19. Danny Galea
Finals Week 2 Tigers Team:
1. Sean Meaney 2. Lote Tuqiri 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Mitch Brown 5. Beau Ryan 6. Benji Marshall 7. Robert Lui 8. Todd Payten 9. Robbie Farah 10. Keith Galloway 11. Liam Fulton 12. Gareth Ellis 13. Chris Heighington
Bench: 14. Andrew Fifita 15. Bryce Gibbs 16. Simon Dwyer 17. Daniel Fitzhenry
Reserves: 18. Mark Flanagan 19. Chris Lawrence 20. Ben Murdoch-Masila 21. Sam Latu