From the Stands: Round 23
It was a bit of déjà vu last week as unfortunately it was another loss we didn’t need to have.
Things were looking good in the first half as the boys completely outplayed the Tigers.
Our forward pack was outstanding throughout and absolutely dominated a big opposition pack, particularly big Shannon Boyd.
Unfortunately it all didn’t end the way it probably should have. Another learning experience I’m afraid.
It’s sometimes easy to forget just what a young side the Raiders are.
There’ll be a few more learning experiences ahead but the results will definitely turn themselves around soon enough.
Hopefully just in time for this Sunday’s clash against Manly.
And what a cracker of a game it should be.
Written off as no-hoper’s mid-season, Manly have found form recently and will be a big test for our boys.
Fortunately, the Raiders love a big test.
And it all starts in the engine room.
Manly have a large pack and love to get in a grind.
But the Raiders carry one of the biggest and fiercest packs around.
Just when you’ve had enough of Frank Paul’s million miles an hour charges or Shillo’s offloads, things get even harder off the bench for the opposition.
Because then comes the seriously in-form Paul Vaughan, ready to stamp his mark on the game.
And speaking of stamping, good luck trying to stop a fired up Shannon Boyd.
His two try performance against the Tigers was followed up by plenty of “Boyd smash” comments on social media and for good reason. The man is a wrecking machine.
Add in the brilliant creativity of hooker Josh Hodgson and this Raiders pack has all the makings of a terrific future.
But of course, winning isn’t all about the forwards. While the Raiders have generally had no problems scoring points, defending them is crucial.
We’ve seen great defence in patches in 2015 but we’ll need a full game performance this weekend.
Manly have experience in the backline but it’s experience that’s not impossible to overcome.
It’s all about shutting their experienced players down.
After the disappointment of last week, the Raiders should be well and truly fired up for this one.
It’s a must win game. Not only would a win keep the 2015 season on track but it’d be a huge boost for the player’s confidence, and that of the Raiders faithful!
I’m backing them all the way to surprise the critics.
Come on Raiders, this is yours!