Last week saw our boys take a vital two competition points against the undermanned Cowboys.
While it won’t go down as one of the classics of 2016, it was a solid performance from the Raiders who did what they needed to, win.
The mighty green machine was in control from start to finish and the result never seemed in doubt.
The Cowboys were rudderless in attack without their first choice halves, but one can only defend the attack that’s in front of you.
And defend the Raiders did. They were strong throughout with only a few minor lapses.
Fortunately for Raiders fans and the highlight reel, a couple of those lapses ended in painful circumstances for the Cowboys.
Both Ray Thompson and Jake Granville found themselves on the end of some absolute cracking last ditch defence from Jack Wighton.
Usually when a player breaks into open space, it’s a matter of how they’ll beat the opposing fullback.
For Thompson and Granville, it was more a matter of self-preservation. Great to watch!
In attack, things weren’t always smooth sailing for the Raiders, but again it was a job well done.
The Cowboys were certainly missing some key players in their defensive line, but they still have some very good defensive structures the new players could slot straight in to.
It was probably always going to be a case of the Raiders having to get through some gritty opposition defence.
That’s exactly what happened in the end. It was a game of patience and wearing down the Cowboys.
It’s the sort of game play we’ll need to get used to at the back end of the season.
I’m not just referring to finals time either. There are some huge games coming up for the Raiders.
After the bye this weekend, we come up against the in form Warriors (7th), the Rabbitohs (12th), Sharks (1st), Storm (2nd), Parramatta (14th), Manly (13th), and the Tigers (11th).
It’s not the easiest run of games and if we’re to come out the other side in tact, we’ll need to show some of that grind it out style of footy. It’s not always pretty, but it sure is necessary at times.
And if we come out the other end of the regular season looking good, there will have been some really strong advantages to this reasonably difficult run home.
First of all, it gives our boys a great chance to come out battle hardened for the finals.
The finals are no walk in the park and if the collective mind isn’t switched on, any club can lose their season in a heartbeat.
Secondly, if we’re able to pick up the competition points in a number of these games, it gives us the best shot at a home semi final, and/or a second bite at the cherry if we nail down a top four position. And that is just what we need!
They’re exciting times Canberra fans. So rest up for the bye weekend and take the competition points. Things are about to get serious!