Raiders Require More Milford Magic

Anthony Milford - Canberra Raiders
Anthony Milford is massive loss for the Raiders in 2015. Picture: Kym Smith/

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Storm v Raiders


Saturday July 19 – 5:35 PM (AEST)




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It is another case of too little too late for the Canberra Raiders. Against the Titans last week they were superb. Actually Anthony Milford was superb. Everything he touched turned to gold. His partnership with centre Jarrod Croker is one Raiders fans are sure to miss when the “whizz kid” heads to Brisbane next year. The Melbourne Storm is sitting in the Top 8 for now, but a few more losses will seem them miss the finals for the first time since 2002.

You can understand why the Raiders were willing to throw $1m at Milford at the start of the year! He barely ever gets caught with the ball, whether he is stepping around players, or putting them through holes. His performances have been inconsistent this year, but with a few more first grade seasons under his belt, he's going to be a big star. While the Raiders' season is all but over, they can use the last eight rounds to build towards 2015, and look to become a force then. Jarrod Kennedy shifts to the centres to cover for the injured Brenko Lee (hamstring), with Joel Edwards moving to the second row and Brent White starting at prop. Paul Vaughn and Matt Allwood make up an extended bench.

Few tipped it, but I knew the Melbourne Storm was going to start their gradual decline this year. They have been too reliant on their “Big 3” for so long that when they got to the backend of their careers, it was going to take its toll on the club. Last week against the Bulldogs, while they were still good, you could see there wasn’t the same cohesion we've come to expect from such a dominant side. Billy Slater’s timing was a little off at times, and Cameron Smith was a little quieter than his usual self. And the person who decided to give the ball to Ben Roberts in the dying stages of the game in the hope snatching victory should be shunned from the club! Coach Craig Bellamy has gone with the same 17, with Ryan Hoffman and Ryan Hinchcliffe starting for Tohu Harris and Jordan McLean.

The last time these two met was in Round 7 this year, and the Raiders stole a victory at home. This time it’s in Melbourne, and you can be sure the Storm will not let history repeat itself.

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Toby's Tip: Storm at the line -12.5

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