The Raiders head into the new season with head coach Ricky Stewart under a little bit of pressure. Stewart’s blow ups were very commonplace last season, and with the inconsistency of his team, it’s understandable. Last season the Raiders just scraped into the Finals, as they won four of their last five games.
A fairly quite off-season for the Raiders in terms of player movement. The Raiders have certainly got the raw end of the deal with a number of key players moving on to different teams. But it’s not all doom and gloom; in terms of players they picked up throughout the off-season, Pasami Saulo from the Knights, was the key scalp. Saulo signed a two-year deal with the Raiders. Along with Saulo, Danny Levi from Huddersfield will also be making the move to the nation’s capital.
Josh Hodgson is moving to the Eels, while Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is crossing the ditch to play for the Warriors. There were two other Raiders players that will be putting on a different kit for the 2023 season.
Ins: Pasami Saulo and Danny Levi
Outs: Josh Hodgson, Adam Elliott, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Ryan Sutton
Key Player: Xavier Savage
During the 2022 season, there was a lot of faith put in Savage, especially considering he only had played a couple of games the season previously. Savage certainly got into the swing of things in the second half of the 2022 season and helped his team scrape into the top eight. While he is still young and lacks experience, especially considering some of the other starting fullbacks in the league, he will be able to learn quickly and should be the key player for the Raiders in 2023.
Rising Star: Clay Webb
This could very well be the year for 20-year-old second rower Clay Webb. He will be looking to make his debut this year, and his recent performance has ensured he earned a top 30 contract with the Raiders. Webb has come through Canberra’s junior system and was the captain of the SG Ball side back in 2021. Fans of the Raiders love cheering on home-grown talent, and Webb will certainly give them something to cheer about.
5 Key Matches To Watch
Match 1: Round 3, vs Sharks, at GIO Stadium (Sun, Mar 19, 6:15pm)
Match 2: Round 5, vs Panthers, at GIO Stadium (Fri, Mar 31, 6pm)
Match 3: Round 11, vs Eels, at GIO Stadium (Sat, May 13, 7:35pm)
Match 4: Round 13, vs Rabbitohs, at Accor Stadium (Sat, May 27, 7:35pm)
Match 5: Round 24, vs Storm, at AMMI Park (Sun, Aug 13, 2pm)
2023 NRL Season Expectations
Inconsistency remains the biggest issue with The Green Machine, and the number of times they have choked in the second half of a game has to be seen to be believed. They have been a cusp Finals team for the last couple of years now, and the loss of some of their key players means they will likely be a cusp team yet again this year.