Saturday’s first NRL Round 2 match is between Canberra Raiders and Sydney Roosters. The opening bounce is set to commence at 15:05 local time with the game to be played at GIO Stadium. The away team Sydney Roosters are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between Canberra Raiders and Sydney Roosters.
When: 15:05 | Saturday 12/03/2016
Where: GIO Stadium
Tip: Sydney Roosters at $1.96
Value BET: First Try Scorer: Jackson Hastings $20.00
1 Jack Wighton 2 Edrick Lee 3 Jarrod Croker 4 Joseph Leilua 5 Jordan Rapana 6 Lachlan Croker 7 Sam Williams 8 Shannon Boyd 9 Josh Hodgson 10 Frank Paul Nuuausala 11 Josh Papalii 12 Elliot Whitehead 13 Shaun Fensom.
Interchange: 14 Kurt Baptiste 15 Iosia Soliola 16 Paul Vaughan 17 Jeff Lima.
Ins: Lachlan Croker, Sam Williams.
Outs: Blake Austin (knee), Aidan Sezer (fractured cheekbone).
1 Blake Ferguson 5 Latrell Mitchell 4 Shaun Kenny-Dowall 3 Dale Copley 2 Daniel Tupou 6 Jayden Nikorima 7 Jackson Hastings 8 Kane Evans 9 Jake Friend 10 Dylan Napa 11 Aiden Guerra 12 Mitchell Aubusson 13 Isaac Liu.
Interchange: 14 Sio Siua Taukeiaho 15 Sam Moa 16 Ian Henderson 17 Vincent Leuluai 19 Joe Burgess.
Ins: Daniel Tupou.
Outs: Joe Burgess.
Lachlan Croker will make his NRL debut for Canberra on Saturday after being named as Blake Austin’s replacement at five-eighth for the clash against Sydney Roosters.
Croker, nephew of club great Jason and a NSW Under-18s representative, will play alongside Sam Williams in the halves at GIO Stadium, following injuries to Austin (knee) and recruit Aidan Sezer (eye socket).
Williams returns from a virus that forced his late withdrawal from the club’s round one win over Penrith.
While admitting the loss of Austin and Sezer was a shame, Williams said the Raiders were well covered.
They had worked on different combinations in the pre-season while the star pair were continuing their rehab from respective shoulder surgeries.
“Lachy was certainly involved a lot of that,” he said.
“He’s done a lot of work in the halves and I think as any young player he’s been trying really hard to get his debut.
“… I think he’ll be ready to do it.”
In the absence of more experienced heads, 24-year-old Williams said it was important he took control of the team and worked closely with hooker Josh Hodgson to steer the Raiders around the park.
“It probably puts a little bit of extra responsibility on my shoulders but I think I’m a natural talker on the field and I’m happy leading the team around, calling the shots,” he added.
“It doesn’t change my game too much, I think it’s just important that when I get there out there I make the right calls.”
Williams will be enjoying a few extra mouthfuls of food this week, having lost some weight during what he described a “rough” night of sickness on Friday night.
He felt drained, flat and disappointed to miss out on a starting jumper, but pushing on and playing he believed would’ve been selfish.
“It’s just been another week I’ve had to wait and I’m just itching to get out there,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to our dietician and our strength and performance staff and they’ve given me all the right ideas to get the weight back on.
“It’s just about getting a lot of fluid back in, eating a lot and eating properly to try … and feel good come Saturday.”
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change