Top-four sides Manly and Canberra meet in the match of the round at GIO Stadium with both teams looking to cement a finals double chance.
The Raiders and Sea Eagles have lost just once apiece in their past five outings and whoever emerges triumphant will have secured valuable breathing space over the floundering Rabbitohs and hard-charging Eels.
Canberra's stunning Round 22 comeback win against the Storm in Melbourne franked their status as legitimate premiership contenders while Des Hasler's Sea Eagles, who also boast a win over Cam Smith and Co, will be intent on making exactly the same statement with the Raiders the first leg of a tough three-game run into the finals.
The Raiders have a strong record at home this season, and the Sea Eagles have only been modestly successful away, but the Roosters showed just two weeks ago that it's possible to silence the Viking clap.
Manly already have one win over Canberra this season, falling behind 12-0 in round seven at Lottoland before turning the match on its head and running out convincing 24-20 winners.
Raiders: No surprises 24 hours out from kick-off, with Ricky Stuart sticking with the squad he unveiled on Tuesday. Joseph Tapine (rib injury) was unavailable for selection, opening the door for Ryan Sutton to reclaim a starting spot at lock. Hudson Young has taken Sutton's place on the bench, while Emre Guler and Michael Oldfield were omitted from the reserves on Saturday. Sam Williams and Siliva Havili were culled an hour before kick-off.
Sea Eagles: Manly are also intact, with Des Hasler making no alterations to the team that beat the Tigers last week. Curtis Sironen (hamstring) wasn't included and Brad Parker remains sidelined with a knee injury. Cade Cust and Lloyd Perrett were trimmed from the squad on Saturday. Tevita Funa and Lachlan Croker suffered the same fate an hour before kick-off.
It all starts from fullback for both sides with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Tom Trbojevic capable of setting up their team's attack by making huge metres. The Raiders custodian is top five in both run and run metres, and No.1 by some distance for kick-return metres, while Sea Eagles superstar Trbojevic bounced back to his best against Wests Tigers after a couple of quiet weeks.
For the Raiders to win
Discipline and consistency will again be the key for Canberra who have scored the fourth-most points and boast the competition's third most-stingy defence despite ranking in the top five in very few statistical categories.
For the Sea Eagles to win
Manly will be looking to get their prolific ground game going early so that they can unleash their league-leading offload machine. With their big men piling up the metres and popping passes Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic could put the stout Raiders defence under intolerable pressure.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Raiders will have got some belief with what they did last week. Being able to come from behind and beat the Storm like they did will have given them enormous confidence. They should get a massive crowd down there at GIO Stadium. Manly’s forwards will provide a good battle. Also, the battle between Tom Trbojevic and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (who has been one of the buys of the year) should be great. Raiders by 2
Manly are last-start losers in Canberra but overall boast a great recent record in the nation's capital having won six of their past eight encounters down there.
And another thing ...
Josh Hodgson added to his (12) and Canberra's (24) league-leading one-on-one strip totals with a key theft during the Raiders' massive comeback win over the Storm.