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NRL: Bulldogs and Raiders kick-off Magic Round

Magic Round in Brisbane gets underway on Friday and it is the Canterbury Bulldogs and Canberra Raiders that will kick things off in the early game.

The whole competition, apart from the Newcastle Knights, will descend on Brisbane, and all games will be played at Suncorp Stadium over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

It is a fantastic weekend of NRL action when supporters will get to watch games back-to-back and soak up a great atmosphere. 

The NRL has been a spectacle so far in 2023 and this Magic Round has the potential to be the best one yet. 

Hopefully the Bulldogs and Raiders will get us off to a great start. They both come into the game on the back of morale-boosting wins so should be high on confidence. 

Both sides came into the new season with high hopes of playing finals and following an indifferent start they have work to do to get there. Another win on Friday night would be a bonus but of course someone will be left disappointed.

Bulldogs have Magic Round hoodoos

WhatCanterbury Bulldogs v Canberra Raiders
WhereSuncorp Stadium, Brisbane
When18:00 (AEST) Friday 5th May, 2023
How to watchFoxtel, Kayo
OddsCanterbury Bulldogs 2.35, Canberra Raiders 1.60

Hopes were extremely high for the Bulldogs faithful following an off-season that saw them lure new coach Cameron Ciraldo from Penrith, while Reed Mahoney and Viliame Kikau were the latest high-profile players to arrive. 

However it has not been an easy start for the Bulldogs, far from it in fact as they have picked up just the four wins from their nine games so far. 

In fairness they have had some cruel luck on the injury front when losing gun players such as Kikau and Josh Addo-Carr to long-term injury. 

However they still have a roster full of quality with star halfback Matt Burton and centre Jake Averillo being the stars of the show in the 18-16 win over the Dolphins. 

That was the Bulldogs first win since round five when they saw off the Cowboys by a point, and they need to back it up against the Raiders. To do so they will need Burton and Averillo at the top of their game once again. 

Averillo can be backed at 3.70 to score a try at anytime during the game. Canterbury will also have to overcome a couple of hoodoos if they are to come out on top. 

They have lost each of the last three Magic Rounds, including in 2021 when the Raiders won a thrilling match 20-18. 

Not only that, the Bulldogs have not won a match at Suncorp Stadium since 2015. But they are a different animal these days and are capable of laying such ghosts to rest.

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Raiders on a roll 

The Raiders have also had an up-and-down season so far, but sit two points above the Bulldogs in 11th spot on the ladder. 

They are bang in form at the moment though and have won their last three games, including a victory over the high-flying Brisbane Broncos. 

The golden point win over the Dolphins last weekend will boost their confidence further and all the furore over Jack Wighton’s exit is not upsetting them. 

If anything it looks to have galvanised the green machine. Wighton was outstanding in the win over the Dolphins and scored a try. He is priced at 3.25 to do so at anytime again on Saturday.  

The Raiders appear to like Magic Round more than the Bulldogs as well. Ricky Stuart’s men have a 2-1 record since 2019. 

In team news for the Raiders, they are boosted by the return of Xavier Savage, who will take his place back on the wing at the expense of Albert Hopoate. 

As for the Bulldogs, they have also been given a lift as Jacob Kiraz has returned from injury a week ahead of schedule and will also take his place on the wing.

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