Throughout the 2020 season the Raiders had outstanding performers across the park. Whether they were international stars or rookies coming into the team, each of them played a significant role in the season just gone.
In this series, we’ll look at each position and each of the players who played there for the Green Machine as we review the 2020 season.
This time we’re taking a look at the second-rowers.
Joe Tapine – six games, one try
Elliott Whitehead – 22 games, five tries
Hudson Young – six games
John Bateman – 11 games, three tries
Corey Harawira-Naera - one game
Off-season surgery for John Bateman, meant that Ricky Stuart had to find an edge partner for Elliott Whitehead for the early stages of the season.
With Hudson Young unavailable for selection, Corey Horsburgh was given the first chance in the pre-season trial and was named in the number 11 jersey for round one.
However, a late switch saw Joe Tapine play in the second-row for the opening six rounds.
After coming off the bench for his first game for the season, Hudson Young assumed the role for the following five games.
Hudson produced solid performances as the Raiders picked up valuable mid-season victories over the Roosters and Rabbitohs in particular.
In round 12, the Raiders second-row stocks were given a huge boost as John Bateman returned, while the club also signed Corey Harawira-Naera – albeit the later was mainly used through the middle.
As the Raiders used four different players on the right edge, Elliott Whitehead continued to epitomise consistency as he played nearly every minute of the season once again.
The English international produced plenty of stellar performances as he scored five tries for the season and got through a mountain of work.
Bateman’s return provided an extra weapon in attack with his unpredictability.
The two Englishman continued their hard work throughout the regular season and were rested before the finals as Ricky Stuart gave Hudson Young and Corey Harawira-Naera a chance to play on the edge.
The duo performed well as the Raiders beat the Sharks and gave Stuart food for thought when assessing who might replace Bateman for 2021.
As the finals rolled around, Whitehead and Bateman slotted back in to the side and helped the Raiders reach the Preliminary Final.
The Big Matches
Round 3 – Raiders 22 d Storm 6
It may not be his preferred position but Joe Tapine looked at home playing in the second row during the early parts of the season.
The Kiwi international was crucial in the win, especially his efforts in defence. Tapine made 33 tackles throughout the match and saved a certain try.
A Cameron Munster grubber kick found the path of strike centre Justin Olam and with the Papua New Guinea international over the line all he needed to do was ground the ball.
Miraculously, Tapine managed to get him on his back while reinforcements arrived in the shape of Curtis Scott and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
Tapine finished the game off with a try in the dying moments as he scored from a Nick Cotric kick.
Round 12 – Raiders 14 d Cowboys 12
John Bateman missed the first half of the Raiders campaign due to a shoulder injury but returned in style against the Cowboys.
The 2020 Dally M Second Rower of the Year caused havoc as the right edge of the Raiders started to really fire.
Bateman made over 150 running metres, made close to seventy post contact metres and also set up a try.
Bateman spun and stepped late towards the line to draw in the Cowboy’s defence and set up Curtis Scott for the match winning try.
Round 19 – Raiders 26 d Warriors 14
Elliott Whitehead was on fire throughout this match as he played with his usual tenacity combined with plenty of flair.
After a strong start in the second-row, Whitehead was relied upon in attack as the George Williams failed an HIA and Jack Wighton was sent to the sin bin in the first half.
With no recognised halves on the field, Whitehead took control as he regathered his own grubber before putting in a kick back through the middle to set up a try for Hudson Young.
The play firmly handed the Raiders momentum as Whitehead continued his fine performance.
The English international finished with 103 running metres, one line break and 17 tackles.