Raiders Must Improve Recent Home Record

Picture: News Limited/
Damaging backrower Josh Papali will miss Canberra's game against the Titans. Picture: News Limited/
Canberra Raiders v Gold Coast Titans  

Sunday, March 23 – 17.35pm (AEST)

GIO Stadium

Form guide:
Canberra: LW
Gold Coast: WL
Things you need to know: 
Canberra have suffered a cruel blow with destructive forward Josh Papalii out for six weeks with an ankle injury sustained in the win over Newcastle last weekend. Lock Shaun Fensom, who signed a new three-year deal with the club this week, also misses out through suspension. Jarrad Kennedy and Paul Vaughan come off the bench into the starting side with Matt McIlwrick recalled while David Shillington is fit again and will make his 100th club appearance after missing the first two games with a rib injury. Brad Takairangi is the only change for the visitors despite their embarrassing loss to the Tigers on Sunday. He is called into the centres with Maurice Blair dropped to Queensland Cup. Greg Bird (shoulder) and Mark Minichiello (virus) are both expected to play despite fitness clouds but Aiden Sezer (quad) and Beau Falloon (knee) are in doubt. Ryan James and Ben Ridge have been added to an extended bench. The Titans have won four of the last five clashes between the two clubs.
Reason to watch:
He might only have 20 NRL games under his belt but there's no denying Anthony Milford is a star and the one who ignites things for the Raiders. He ran for over 200 metres in the win over the Knights, setting up two tries and making three line-breaks in a devastating display. You can bet Raiders coach Ricky Stuart will be doing all he can in the next few months to try and make Milford change his mind about heading to Brisbane next season. It will also be interesting to see how big Titans forward David Taylor performs after a week where the club was forced to dismiss reports they are trying to offload him from his lucrative contract.
Reason to turn away:
Who knows which Titans team will turn up after Jekyll and Hyde performances in the opening two rounds. They could be feeling the effects of the extreme heat on the Gold Coast last Sunday and are vulnerable of going into this one a little flat and fatigued. Both these sides were average in 2013 and if they dish up that kind of form again it might be worth watching MKR instead.
Say what:
"I've heard the rumours and I've spoken to the club about them. We accept they are just rumours, and with no foundation. I have bought a house here (on the Gold Coast) and have the kids enrolled at schools, so we're settled on the Gold Coast and I'm happy playing for the Titans. I have no desire to go anywhere." – Titans back-rower David Taylor
Final word: 
Canberra finally get to play in front of their home fans after an opening fortnight on the road and they should get off to a winning start. The Green Machine have showed good signs in patches in both their opening games. The Titans were simply horrible last time out and have a few of their key players under injury clouds. They will enjoy the cooler conditions of the nation's capital compared to the heat of home but it won't change their fortunes. Raiders by 12
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