Bulldogs v Raiders: Kiraz still a chance; Savage returns

Canberra and Canterbury are set to go head-to-head to kick-start Magic Round for 2023 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

The Raiders are on a roll after defeating the Dolphins in dramatic fashion in Wagga Wagga with halfback Jamal Fogarty kicking the first field goal of his career.

Ricky Stuart's side have now strung three straight wins together and will be a tough side to face with the club showing its resilience and character last week, orchestrating a tough win in the wake of five-eighth Jack Wighton signing with South Sydney. 

The Bulldogs, hot off the heels of their first win since Round 5 with a tight victory over St George Illawarra will head to Brisbane with just a five-day turnaround.

Cameron Ciraldo's side has had a horror injury toll to start the season but will need star centre Jake Averillo and halfback Matt Burton to back-up their Round 9 performances if they're to get the job done against Canberra on Friday.

In 2021, it was the Raiders who prevailed when the two sides met in a thrilling 20-18 Magic Round clash.

The Green Machine enjoy Magic Round more than their opponents with a 2-1 record since 2019 while the Bulldogs are yet to feel the magic, having never recorded a win at the NRL's festival of football.

Team News
Bulldogs: Despite Bulldogs football GM Phil Gould announcing that Jacob Kiraz was ruled out of Magic Round, the winger is set to return from injury and take his place in the side. Max King is also firming to make his return in a boost for the team. Teenage prodigy Karl Oloapu is named to come off the bench for a second game while Franklin Pele (arm) has also been included and is set to play.

Raiders: Xavier Savage makes a return for the Green Machine on the wing at the expense of Albert Hopoate while Ata Mariota comes into the 17 after making a successful return from a broken hand a fortnight ago. Corey Harawira-Naera moves to the reserves.

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Story first published by NRL.com