Raiders vs Dragons preview from expert NRL analyst Steve Green, including recommended bet.
The Raiders head into this one after back-to-back losses and following word that John Bateman will leave the club at the end of 2020. That is not a great week for the Green Machine, and Coach Stuart has realised changes must be made.
Scott is the obvious player to be dropped. His indecision in defence is now being targeted and he doesn’t do much in attack either. With Rapana and Simonson battling it out for a wing spot, and Cotric able to play centre (along with Oldfield having a history of always stepping up), Scott will have to battle his way back into the starting team.
But Scott is not the main problem for the Raiders. Across the park they are well down on their 2019 numbers. In their last four matches, the Raiders have scored only 62 points – which is the fourth worst attack in the NRL during that period.
The Raiders’ two leading try scorers are Whitehead and Wighton, on four each. In contrast, the Raiders outside backs are struggling to cross the line. Scott has one try, Croker has zero tries, Rapana has one try and Simonsson has one try. This indicates the backline movements of the Raiders are not working as they should.
Defensively, the Raiders have fallen back to the pack in 2020. Last year their scrambling defence was second to none, but the new rules have made it difficult for the Raiders to slow down their opponents and get their defence set. If they don’t find a way to lift their energy in defence and get their backline moves running at pace, the Raiders will struggle to replicate their 2019 success.
As for the Dragons, they backed up their back-to-back wins with a solid performance against the Roosters. Although the Dragons went down by 14 points in the end, they were leading shortly after half time. They’ve clearly turned a corner since Dufty has come back into the fullback spot. Dufty’s rating so far in 2020 has him in the top ten players in the competition on current form. That further highlights how ridiculous it was to leave him out for those games.
McInnes continues to impressive week after week. Frizzell is repaying Dragons fans with some solid form after announcing his departure to the Knights. With Hunt playing with confidence again, Lomax slowly showing the enormous potential he has and Ravalawa continuing to find his way to the try line, the Dragons are not the easy beats everybody had them pinned as a month ago.
In fact, it has been a miraculous recovery and although getting on the road is a big test, I think the head start being offered here is a bit too big.
Raiders vs Dragons: predicted score
Raiders vs Dragons: recommended bets
Bet 1 Unit on Dragons +9.5
Don’t forget, TopSport have $2 lines on NRL once final teams are confirmed. You won’t get a better price on the Raiders vs Dragons line anywhere. And check out the NRL Line Ladder for all teams’ record against the betting line.