Last Sunday’s effort (as covered by Dan in the Raiders Review) was one of the most abysmal efforts from the team in the last few years. A full blown shopping list of errors and bad judgement combined with the apathy of the truly broken let the Roosters trample all over the Green Machine and then run around the horribly compressed defensive line. There were but the slightest of bright lights in the early minutes; Austin continuing to probe around the ruck, Wighton looking sparky. It wasn’t long until the brain farts kicked in and the match took a turn for the worse. Yours truly actually switched off before the end, appalled by the lack of drive the team possessed. Don’t judge, Australia was winning the World Cup.
This coming weekend the Raiders face an equally tough gig when they take on the Sea Eagles in Albury. Amazingly the Eagles are actually behind the Raiders on the ladder, which means this game will be a grub fight with both sides looking to lift themselves out of the dumps.
Big Three – Sea Eagles
Brett Stewart: The Manly custodian will have an easy day if the Raiders chase kicks like they did last week. But the Raiders halves have changed, and Sam Williams may have new tricks up his sleeve. Stewart may not be alarmed but he should be alert.
Steve Matai: Matai is one of those hated by non-Manly fans, mostly because he is pretty good at what he does. Given that the Raiders edge defence was weaker than an aristocrats chin Matai should be dreaming of the ways he can tear them asunder.
Matt Ballin: Ballin made 45 tackles last week and didn’t concede a single missed tackle. If he steps up his running from dummy half he could make serious inroads for Manly around the ruck.
Big Three – Raiders
Jack Wighton: If the Raiders can actually hold the ball and get it out to Wighton they may have a chance; he clocked up 186 metres against the Roosters and needs more room to really spark something.
Blake Austin: Austin ended up having a quiet game last weekend, contributing at least one error himself. He menaced the Roosters in the opening exchanges but was shut out mostly by the Raiders forwards constantly dropping the ball. Needs his forward pack to roll forward (not back, dummies!) to clear him creative space.
Paul Vaughan: Here Vaughan, take a bow. In just over 40 minutes Vaughan ran 16 times for 144 metres (the only forward to go triple digits) and made 16 effective tackles with none missed. Vaughan did it how it should be done, all other Raiders forwards should take note.
You Wot Mate?
Usually the You Wot section is reserved for me to make disparaging remarks about the opposition and surrounding media. This week however I’m taking aim at the Raiders team selection. HOW IN THE FUCK DID TILSE GET PICKED AGAIN? Did no one at Raiders HQ notice the constantly botched offloads? Or the fact that he ran less than 50 metres?
Ricky, why has Cornish been relegated to Mounties? Cornish setup our only try last week. It wasn’t his fault that pretty much the entire forward rotation couldn’t be bothered to run fast or hold the ball. How can you logically expect a half to have any impact when he has no room to move?
The biggest You Wot is reserved for the Raiders forward pack, with the exception of Paul Vaughan. The next forward caught running under 90 metres is getting cut. Seriously Jarrad Kennedy ran 92 metres. He was second best behind Vaughan. Here’s some other numbers: 59, 44, 48, 52 and 63. If the Raiders wish to make inroads the forwards need to make a minimum of 10-12 metres per hitup.
The Raiders lose, but not by much. Ben finally gets his way and Hangman: Ricky Stuart edition is implemented. Sam Williams returns to Mounties only to find that McCrone has mysteriously gone missing.