Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart has spoken to the media ahead of the clash with the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon and given his thoughts on the visitors.

The seventh placed Canberra Raiders host the fifth placed Bulldogs this weekend and with the rep season upon us, picking up the two points is crucial for both sides.

The Bulldogs will head down the Hume Highway looking to make it three wins in a row and for the home side, who came away from New Plymouth with a win last weekend against

the Warriors, being up for the challenge against one of the heavyweights in the competition will be the focus and there is no one better that knows the toughness and strength of the Bulldogs, than Coach Ricky Stuart.

“The Bulldogs and Raiders have always been up for the challenge,” Stuart said. “Over the years it’s always been tough competition against the Dogs. They’re a tough football team.

“They’re a club that I’ve had a couple of years at and I have a lot of respect for as well.

“They’ve got some good people there involved in the club and it will be a great game.”

The Raiders welcome back experienced forwards Sia Soliola and Shaun Fensom, who return this weekend from injury.

Fensom returns from a shoulder injury which kept him out of last week’s win, while Soliola will play his first match since breaking his arm in round five against the Bulldogs and for Stuart, having these men back in his line-up will be crucial on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s important to have those types of senior people in your team because they’ve got a lot of games under their belt and a lot of games brings experience.

“When you’re playing against such an experienced team in the Bulldogs, matching that experience is important.”

It will be the second time these two sides have met this year after the Raiders defeated the Bulldogs at Belmore in an impressive 80 minute display.

The performance in round five was arguably the Raiders toughest win under Stuart, led by their young forward pack and the former Bulldogs number seven is expecting another tough match between two big forward packs this weekend.

“The game we just played was a very physical game at Belmore and they’re a very competitive football team and we’re expecting another tough match.”