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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. 

The rundown

Team news

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.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Storm is number 1 Nicho Hynes
    Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Jordan Rapana
  • Winger for Storm is number 2 Dean Ieremia
    Winger for Raiders is number 2 Bailey Simonsson
  • Centre for Storm is number 3 Reimis Smith
    Centre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod Croker
  • Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin Olam
    Centre for Raiders is number 4 Matthew Timoko
  • Winger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
    Winger for Raiders is number 5 Harley Smith-Shields
  • Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron Munster
    Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
  • Halfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome Hughes
    Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Sam Williams

Forwards

  • Prop for Storm is number 8 Jesse Bromwich
    Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
  • Hooker for Storm is number 9 Brandon Smith
    Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
  • Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
    Prop for Raiders is number 10 Joseph Tapine
  • 2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young
  • 2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich
    2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
  • Lock for Storm is number 13 Dale Finucane
    Lock for Raiders is number 17 Iosia Soliola

Interchange

  • Interchange for Storm is number 14 Harry Grant
    Interchange for Raiders is number 13 Ryan Sutton
  • Interchange for Storm is number 15 Chris Lewis
    Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Tom Starling
  • Interchange for Storm is number 17 Ryan Papenhuyzen
    Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Emre Guler
  • Interchange for Storm is number 18 Tom Eisenhuth
    Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Corey Harawira-Naera

Reserves

  • Reserve for Storm is number 19 Tepai Moeroa
    Reserve for Raiders is number 18 Sebastian Kris

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Senior Review Official: Chris Butler

Last updated:

Key match-up

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.

Stat attack

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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