From the Stands: Raiders v Panthers
An unfortunate blip on the radar last week means we’re back again this week!
It wasn’t the most convincing win for the Sharks and nor was it the most devastating loss for the Raiders.
The game reminded me of the opening round of a boxing bout. Opponents moving around, watching, and waiting for an opening.
The openings were reasonably few and far between. It was a game that suited the Sharks side to a tee.
They love a bit of trench warfare and in the end, perhaps got lucky with a penalty close to full time.
It was an unfortunate loss for our boys but one that came with an important lesson.
In finals footy, it’s important to take your chances. Unfortunately for us, the Sharks took theirs.
For many teams, the finals mean playing a low risk game and waiting for your opponents to crack.
The footy can be less expansive and become a battle through the middle.
99 per cent of the time, it means the more disciplined team wins.
While discipline will still be key this weekend, there’s a fair possibility the low risk game plan will be thrown out the window for both teams.
Penrith are riding a wave of momentum at the moment and love moving the ball around.
Moylan, Peachey, and Cleary have been having a field day attacking at every opportunity.
They couldn’t be more confident right now and the confidence comes from that attack.
It makes for such an enticing game. As Raiders fans know, when the mighty green machine is firing, they too have plenty of points in them.
Add the fact it’s a do or die game for both sides and you have the makings of an all-time classic.
The battle for territory will be king. Limiting mistakes, not giving away silly penalties, containing offloads and winning that battle of the forwards. That’s what’s important this weekend.
In other words, getting the basics of Rugby League right.
But whatever comes Saturday night, I have no doubt the mighty Raiders will leave it all out on the field.
The boys will be fit and firing, ready to put on an almighty show for another bumper crowd.
The atmosphere of GIO Stadium was unreal last week and I have no doubt there’ll be a repeat of that this weekend.
So be ready, Raiders fans, this is it! Do your lucky pre-game ritual and wear your lucky underwear. Do whatever works. Because next week we’ll either be playing for a grand final spot or talking up what could’ve been.
I know what I’d rather be doing! Go you Raiders!!!