Tapine and Tino set for heavyweight bout

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If a bottom-eight NRL clash between Canberra and Gold Coast doesn't scream 'mouth-watering contest', perhaps it's a colossal battle in the middle between Joe Tapine and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui that will get fans salivating.

The wrecking balls rank first and second across the league in post-contact metres this season and it's the Raiders prop who tops the pile, crunching out 1269m for the year compared with the Titans skipper's 1121m.

In fact, Tapine edges out Fa'asuamaleaui in most major statistical categories, including metres (2966m v 2583m) and offloads (33 v 13), although the Titan does boast four tries compared with his rival's one.

It's a matchup that could shape Saturday's clash where the 10th-ranked Raiders will be desperate for a win that could yet see them end the round inside the top eight.

Canberra hooker Tom Starling said Fa'asuamaleaui was certainly one Titan the team would have their hands full with.

"That'll be a good match-up, big Tino and 'Taps' going at it, I'll have front row seats to watch that," he told reporters.

"It's a group effort, you can't take him one-on-one, I'll be looking to get the big boys around me and we'll look to get in his face early so he doesn't get a roll on.

"Those type of players, you can't take on one-out by yourself because they're too big and strong, it's a team effort to go out there and contain them.

"They've got some really good players in there, you can't look at their position on the ladder because every week in the NRL is tough and they're coming out to win."

But while reaching finals remains the first goal on Canberra minds, captain Elliott Whitehead said given his team's confidence they could do damage once there.

The Raiders boast wins over top-eight sides Cronulla, South Sydney and Melbourne along with some narrow losses against others they feel they can overturn come the post-season.

"We want to win the rest of our games to give us the highest position in the eight, we're capable of doing that and we've built confidence over the last couple of weeks," Whitehead told reporters.

"It's one step at a time, Gold Coast this week are a dangerous side with some dangerous players that can score from anywhere on the field.

"Once again we'll have to be at our best, but we go in full of confidence and belief we can get the two points."

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