Published on March 8th, 2010 | by Daniel Boyle0
Canberra Raiders vs Penrith Panthers
So finally the NRL season is rolling around again, with this week bringing the first games. The Raiders are hitting the road (never a good sign) to take on the Panthers at the foot of the mountains.
Twenty years ago, this would have been THE match, however, times have changes for the two teams that did battle in the 1990 and 91 Grand Finals.
The away record of the Green Machine is something that is well known, however the Panthers have not had so much success since Matt Elliot sold out on the Raiders and headed north. The Panthers are one team the Raiders should be able to beat, which would be a great start to the season.
The Raiders took on the Tigers in Round One last year, this was also an away game, one they could have won. I went to the Labor Club in the city to watch it and got very drunk by myself as I watch Tuaki be tackled, not called held, then run the rest of the field to score a try.
The Raiders lost that match by six points.
The Panthers do have some big name players (Petro, Pritchard, Jennings, Lewis, Waterhouse), however they all need to be firing, and the halves situation is not so strong for Penrith. If Terry Campese gets a good start to the season, the Raiders should roll on the back of that.
The team will get announced tomorrow, this is my prediction for the green machine:
1. J Dugan
2. D Vidot
3. J Croker
4. J Thompson
5. R Robinson
6. T Campese
7. J McCrone
8. D Shillington
9. A Tongue
10. D Tilse
11. D Galea
12. B Harrison
13. J Miller
14. T Waddell
15. T Thurling
16. S Fensom
17. S Logan
Both teams have a few injury troubles, the Raiders are missing David Milne and Justin Carney in the backs, as well as big bopper Tom Learoyd-Lahrs. He should be right to go in round two.
Of course Campese is going to be a major factor, however I think Joel Thompson lining up against Michael Jennings will be the key match up of the game. Jennings speed is a real danger, however JT is very strong defensively.
I think this game will be a close one, with the Raiders edging out the Panthers 18-14.