What can you say about that game against the Knights?
One of those games we should have won easily in theory, but it wasn’t the case.
That first half tested even the staunchest of Raiders fans, myself included.
It was frustrating. We got off to a slow start and the Knights well and truly capitalised on their opportunities.
But at half time, down 22-6 thanks to a late first half try to Austin, you got the sense, if the Raiders held on to the ball, were patient, and controlled possession, we were right in it.
Then came a telling moment early in the second half. Awarded a penalty in our end, the Knights elected to take the easy 2 points instead of going on the attack. From there it was all Raiders.
Playing much closer to our potential, it looked like the Raiders could have scored off just about every play.
Despite being hampered by a couple of injuries, our boys kept rolling forward and finally secured one of the more dramatic victories in 2016.
Of course, no dramatic victory is complete without a dramatic try.
That never say die attitude shown by an already injured Rapana to collect Austin’s missed field goal was absolutely sensational!
Looking at the bigger picture, you wouldn’t say it was a ‘good’ game for the Raiders.
But the attitude and resilience of this Raiders team to secure the biggest comeback of the year was more than good, it was brilliant!
That’s the kind of mental fortitude we’ll need if we’re to make a genuine run at the title in 2016.
We’ll need that resilience to continue this week, as this Monday’s game shapes up as a somewhat similar challenge for the Raiders.
While not comparing the last placed Knights to the Raiders, it is another ‘should win’ game for our boys.
The Cowboys will be without several Origin stars and it’ll be a chilly Monday night at GIO stadium.
But as we know in the NRL, nothing is guaranteed. The Cowboys are still stacked with plenty of talent, and if they get off to a start similar to the Knights, clawing our way back into the game won’t be easy.
It’s important the mighty Raiders aim up from the start and do the simple things right.
Hold on to the ball, defend as a unit, control the territory. If we do these things, we should win and do so reasonably comfortably. If we don’t, it could be a disappointing night.
And of course Raiders fans can play their part too. Get to GIO Stadium and give those boys from the north a very chilly welcome.
Night time in a Canberra winter, is our time indeed. Let’s keep the good momentum going and take home another vital 2 competition points!