Despite three wins from their past four games, the Raiders will really find out where they stand with the NRL finals a month away when they face the Storm on Thursday.
No disrespect to Canberra's recent opposition, but the Eels (round 19) were the only side ahead of them on the table. The Storm are perched right on top of the ladder and present a another jump in standards altogether.
The fact Melbourne only have a five-day turn around after a solid battle with Manly, might help Ricky Stuart's men. But Canberra will need to be a lot more threatening in attack than what they've shown recently.
The Raiders enjoyed three wins in a row over the Storm, knocking them out of the 2019 finals race. But good friend Craig Bellamy returned the favour when Melbourne beat Canberra in last year's preliminary final.
Along with the 34-10 win at GIO Stadium in May this year, that's now three defeats in a row for the Green Machine up against the men in purple.
Match: Storm v Raiders
Round 22 -
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
Storm: Nelson Asofa-Solomona (hamstring) was ruled after Wednesday's captain's run, failing to come up from the injury which has sidelined him since round 19. Tom Eisenhuth joins the bench.
Ryan Papenhuyzen is expected to be fine despite copping a knock to the knee last week in his third game back from a concussion lay-off.
Papenhuyzen's minutes at fullback improved last week with Bellamy likely to increase them again on Thursday.
Jordan Grant was the other player to come out of the squad on Wednesday along with Asofa-Solomona.
Isaac Lumelume was the last man cut an hour before kick-off and Tepai Moeroa is 18th man.
Melbourne have won eight from eight at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Raiders: Iosia Solioa has been promoted to the starting side an hour before kick-off with Ryan Sutton going to the bench.
Bailey Simonsson (toe) returns after five games on the sideline and has been named on the wing but coach Ricky Stuart said on Wednesday he will start at fullback.
Jordan Rapana will return to the edge with Semi Valemei (throat) out for a fortnight.
Matt Frawley and Siliva Havili were the first two players cut from the squad 24 hours before kick-off. Dunamis Lui was the last man cut on game night and Seb Kris is 18th man.
A Canberra win will give Ricky Stuart his 100th victory as Raiders coach.
Match: Storm v Raiders
Round 22 -
Fullback for Storm is number 1 Nicholas HynesFullback for Raiders is number 1 Jordan Rapana
Winger for Storm is number 2 Dean IeremiaWinger for Raiders is number 2 Bailey Simonsson
Centre for Storm is number 3 Reimis SmithCentre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod Croker
Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin OlamCentre for Raiders is number 4 Matthew Timoko
Winger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-CarrWinger for Raiders is number 5 Harley Smith-Shields
Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron MunsterFive-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
Halfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome HughesHalfback for Raiders is number 7 Sam Williams
Prop for Storm is number 8 Jesse BromwichProp for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
Hooker for Storm is number 9 Brandon SmithHooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian WelchProp for Raiders is number 10 Joseph Tapine
2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young
2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
Lock for Storm is number 13 Dale FinucaneLock for Raiders is number 17 Iosia Soliola
Interchange for Storm is number 14 Harry GrantInterchange for Raiders is number 13 Ryan Sutton
Interchange for Storm is number 15 Chris LewisInterchange for Raiders is number 14 Tom Starling
Interchange for Storm is number 17 Ryan PapenhuyzenInterchange for Raiders is number 15 Emre Guler
Interchange for Storm is number 18 Tom EisenhuthInterchange for Raiders is number 16 Corey Harawira-Naera
Reserve for Storm is number 19 Tepai MoeroaReserve for Raiders is number 18 Sebastian Kris
- Referee: Gerard Sutton
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Senior Review Official: Chris Butler
Josh Hodgson/Tom Starling v Brandon Smith/Harry Grant: The result could well reside in the hands of these four players and how they share the distribution duties, along with their defensive skills. Both Hodgson and Smith love dummy-half runs, and one-on-one steals. Or it could be Grant feeding the short pass to Jesse Bromwich, or Starling to Josh Papalii, close to the line which provides the match-winner.
Josh Addo-Carr is second in the NRL for tries scored (21) but the Raiders have no-one in the top-20. Jordan Rapana comes in at No.21 on the list with 11 tries.
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