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Recent NRL history means little to Raiders

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/03/2017 Matt Coughlan

Canberra handed out two NRL thrashings to Wests Tigers in 2016 but are giving no weight to recent history as they prepare to host Jason Taylor's side.

Sunday's match at GIO Stadium has added importance for the Raiders, who are winless after the opening two rounds and were thrashed by Cronulla in front of their home crowd last week.

If Canberra slumps to 0-3, it will be only the second time in the NRL era they have lost their first three matches.

The Tigers will also be desperate for a win after a 36-2 loss to Penrith last week, which followed an impressive first-round victory over South Sydney.

The Raiders outscored the Tigers 112-16 in their two clashes last season, winning 60-6 in Canberra and 52-10 at Leichhardt Oval in the final match of the season.

Coach Ricky Stuart said he took "not one bit" of confidence from the drubbings they doled out last year.

Forward Clay Priest, 28, made his debut in the round-eight win, marking his career change from fixing power lines to professional athlete.

"It was unreal," Priest told AAP.

"Just to get a shot at a position where I never thought I would get to, it was so surreal.

"To be part of such a rewarding win was even better."

But like Stuart, Priest puts little value in his side's recent record against the Tigers.

"I believe you don't want to think like that," Priest said of any potential psychological advantage.

"There's plenty of X-factor right across the park and teams are now looking at us as a threat."

Skipper Aaron Woods leads the Tigers pack, while fullback James Tedesco is set to present a stern test for the Raiders.

"It's not just Aaron Woods you've got to look at. All their forwards are quality," Priest said.

"They've got some pretty fancy outside backs so we've got to make sure what we do is effective and really give it to them."

Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker will make an earlier-than-expected return from a knee injury, while prop Dave Taylor has been named on the bench to make his NRL comeback.

The Tigers will be without Jamal Idris, who is sidelined with a foot injury, and Elijah Taylor, who has withdrawn from the match for family reasons.

STATS THAT MATTER:

* After winning just two of 13 matches against the Tigers from 2007 to mid-2014, the Raiders have won the past two matches against them and four of the past five between the two sides.

* In his two matches last season against the Tigers, Jordan Rapana scored six tries, ran for 378m, busted 14 tackles and made six linebreaks.

* The Tigers have made a league-high 33 offloads during the opening two rounds, including 18 last week, their most since 2014.

Source: Fox Sports Stats

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