From the Stands: Round 26

It’s been a while, so last week’s win over Penrith comes as some sweet relief!

It might not have been the prettiest game of footy but it certainly wasn’t short of highlights.

The Raiders brought us some quality attacking Rugby League and the win was a fitting farewell to Canberra in 2015.

The boys have not only been competitive in this year but they were challenging and perhaps should have taken down some of the best teams in the NRL.

They must have been disappointed with the way the year turned out but there’s no way the Raiders deserved to be fighting it out for the spoon this week.

The win was well deserved and there were some good signs for 2016.

In particular, Jack Wighton was superb and has really found his feet at fullback.

In only his first year in the position, the future holds good things for Jack and it’s easy to see why the Raiders want him long term.

His suspension for the hit on Jamie Soward was one of the few lowlights of the evening.

Add to that basket, the unlucky injury of Blake Austin.

Surgery means he’ll be out for the final game against the Eels but he appears confident of a round 1 return next year.

Both Wighton and Austin will be sorely missed this weekend but it gives a few of the boys the chance to step up and show us what they can do.

While not in the hunt for a finals spot this year, the boys still have plenty to be enthusiastic about.

First of all, a win would cement a top ten finish. While that might not have fans shouting it from the rooftops, it’s still a significant improvement on 2014.

The Raiders are on the up and have recruited well again for next year. Bigger things are coming.

There’s no reason round 26 shouldn’t be the next step on the path to those bigger things.

As for fans, we have our part to play too. Don’t even think about checking out a week early.

Yes the run of close losses was disappointing but if we could see out last year, we can easily see out this year.

Not only should it be a good game but new rules will get a trial as we take on Parramatta on Sunday.

You’ll have a front row seat to the brand new experiment that is the NRL shot clock.

Essentially, both teams will have 35 seconds to pack scrums and take drop outs, testing the fatigue factor.

Big boys are expected to tire a little more than usual, creating more opportunities for the little men.

The Raiders little men have been outstanding in 2015, in particular Josh Hodgson and Kurt Baptise, who may just get a few more opportunities around the ruck.

Keep an eye out, it has the chance to add some excitement and give you a sneak peak into 2016.

Go Raiders!