Victor’s Vault – Raiders v Sea Eagles 2006
Tuesday 20 August 2013 10:29 AM
This week’s Victor’s Vault takes Raiders fans back to 2006 when an underdog Raiders outfit kicked off their campaign in impressive fashion by disposing of a strong Manly Sea Eagles side in front of a jam-packed Brookvale Oval.
In front of 17,135 parochial Manly fans, the Green Machine kicked off their season with a 27-14 defeat of the Sea Eagles in Round 1 and celebrated local junior Lincoln Withers’ 100th NRL match in style.
The victory launched the Raiders into fourth place on the ladder and sent a sharp warning to the competition that this severely underrated team from the Nation’s Capital could play.
Manly’s outfit on the day featured club greats such as Steve ‘Beaver’ Menzies and Ben Kennedy in the back-row and the nucleus of a side that would go on to finish runner’s up in 2007 and premiers in 2008.
As such, the Sea Eagles were red-hot favourites however the Raiders were thoroughly confident leading into the match after a tremendous pre-season.
It was Withers who played a part in the first try of the match after the tenacious halfback combined with wily five-eighth Jason Smith to send centre Phil Graham over in the corner in the 4th minute. Captain Clinton Schifcofske converted from the sideline to give his side a 6-0 advantage.
Schifcofske then edged his side further in front when he slotted a penalty goal from 20 metres in front of the uprights after Menzies was penalized for being offside.
Whilst Canberra’s side featured seasoned campaigners such as Schifcofske, Smith and Jason Croker, they also had plenty of up-and-coming players in their line-up, all of whom stood up on the day.
This was particularly evident through debutant winger Adrian Purtell who was peppered with kicks all match from Manly half Matt Orford, with the Sea Eagles’ game plan centered around applying pressure down the left flank.
Canberra were frustrating their more favoured opponents however they lost momentum when the irrepressible Josh Miller was taken from the field is in the 26th minute after a heavy collision with former team mate Mark Bryant. Miller would play no more part in the match.
A minute later, Anthony Watmough forced a mistake from Schifcofske and Steven Bell then posted first points for Manly from the next set after an inside ball from fullback Brett Stewart.
The Raiders hit back five minutes later when Smith linked up with Graham who flicks a pass out the back as he is pulled down short of the Manly line to winger Adam Mogg, who dived over. Schifcofske converts to give the Raiders a 14-4 lead.
Alas the Sea Eagles hit back two minutes before halftime after Stewart pounced on an Orford short kick to score. Orford’s missed conversion entails that the Raiders held a 14-8 lead at halftime.
After setting up the opening try in the first half, Withers looked to have created the Raiders’ opening try of the second stanza in the 47th minute after throwing a lovely inside ball for Schifcofske.
Unfortunately the try was disallowed by video referee Paul Simpkins for an obstruction ruling although Withers was at the forefront soon after when he again combined with Smith to put Adrian Purtell into a gap.
The young rookie kept his cool and put replacement Todd Carney under the posts in the 55th minute. Schifcofske converts.
Bell replied soon after for Manly however a further try to Simon Woolford in the 67th minute plus a field goal to Carney in the 70th minute wrapped up a memorable victory for the Green Machine.
“Obviously the effort was there as usual,” Raiders Coach Matthew Elliot said. “I think some people sometimes forget these players spend a lot of energy for each other and we needed to tonight. I’m really pleased we didn’t play our best footy as well.”
Lock Alan Tongue led the Raiders tackle count with 41, followed by Troy Thompson with 32, whilst Withers was a standout in his 100th NRL match.
CANBERRA RAIDERS 27 (P Graham, A Mogg, T Carney, S Woolford tries; C Schifcofske 5 goals, T Carney f.goal) defeated MANLY SEA EAGLES 14 (S Bell 2, B Stewart tries; M Orford goal) at Brookvale Oval