2.00pm (AEST), Sunday, April 12
GIO Stadium, Canberra
Canberra and Melbourne both returned to the winner’s circle in Round 5 – this Sunday’s southern showdown represents a gilt-edged opportunity to keep up with the premiership’s pacesetters.
Jeremy Hawkins replaces Jordan Rapana, who received a one-match ban, on the Raiders’ wing. Sam Williams retains the halfback spot after a strong showing last week. The Storm named an unchanged 17, but Billy Slater has since been ruled out for a month after aggravating a shoulder injury. Ben Hampton is the likely candidate to replace him, while Will Chambers is also an option.
Canberra have won just 10 of their 35 clashes with Melbourne – the Raiders’ worst record against any team in their history. The Raiders have fared marginally better as the home side, winning six of 16 when hosting the Storm, while they have also prevailed in four of the last six meetings at all venues. A Paul Vaughan try in the dying minutes secured a 24-22 boilover for the Raiders at GIO Stadium early in 2014, before the Storm responded with a 28-14 success at AAMI Park in Round 19. Sisa Waqa makes his first appearance against his old club after joining the Raiders in the off-season.
The Raiders snapped a three-match losing streak (which culminated in a 34-6 shellacking from the Roosters) by overpowering Manly 29-16 in Albury, with Sam Williams starring opposite Daly Cherry-Evans in his first match back in the lime green jumper. The Storm bounced back from their golden point heartbreaker in Townsville to thump the Warriors 30-14 on Easter Monday, with Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and wing sensation Marika Koroibete leading the way.
Sam Williams outshone the high-profile Cherry-Evans last week and now faces the current Australian No.7 Cooper Cronk. If Williams comes out on top again, the Raiders will be halfway towards beating the Storm.
Stats That Matter
Canberra is 12-14 at home since the start of 2013 and just 10-16 against the start, with a 10-16 under record. The Raiders are just 3-9 overall and ATS as home underdog during that period. Melbourne is a surprisingly poor 12-15 on the road from 2013-15 (13-14 ATS), while their record as away favourite is 5-9 overall and 4-10 against the line. The Storm are 6-7 on Sunday afternoons (5-8) over the last three seasons; the Raiders are 7-9 overall and against the line in that timeslot.
Melbourne has impressed overall in 2015 despite being tipped to slide down the ladder, but the loss of Billy Slater is a major setback. Canberra has been as inscrutable as ever, winning plaudits for their gritty efforts in the opening rounds and emerging from a mini-slump with a rousing win over Manly. While predicting which Raiders outfit will turn up is a virtually impossible task, they have shown a harder edge for the most part in 2015 and an upset could be on the cards. Take the hosts with the start, while an over result should be favoured with both sides accumulating 2-3 under records so far this season.
How It’s Shaping Up
Canberra by 2
Canberra +4 ($1.91)
Other Recommended Bets
Over 42.5 ($1.90)
2015 NRL Round 6 Betting Preview for Canberra vs Melbourne thanks to William Hill Australia.
Canberra vs Melbourne Comparison Betting Odds
Below we have 2015 NRL Round 6 comparison betting odds from leading Australian and International online sportsbooks for the game.