Awwwwww Yeah Raiders Fans!
After months of nothing we’re finally almost at the start of a glorious new cycle of rugby league action. We’ve had little doses of footy via the Auckland Nines (sorta) and the NRL All-Stars (a bit), but nothing comes close to the sweet, sweet goodness that is season competition proper – well, pre-season. Close enough!
With that in mind the Raiders have one last hit out before they run out to face the Panthers at home in round one. The Green Machine departed Canberra this week on a regional tour, winding their way across NSW to Orange (the place, not the fruit) where they’ll face the Newcastle Knights.
There’s a lot of synergy between the Knights and the Raiders. Reasonably quiet and straight forward off seasons has been the norm, excusing the current arm wrestle the share surrounding the services of Joseph Tapine.
Both teams have made crucial recruiting moves in the halves – the Raiders acquiring Aidan Sezer from the Titans while the Knights scooped up former Bulldog Trent Hodkinson. The rest of the signings are mostly forwards to stack the pantry, the Raiders gaining Elliot Whitehead and Jeff Lima with the Knights taking on the services of Mickey Paea and Pauli Pauli.
The quarter-finals was were both sides progressed to in the Auckland Nines tournament before being bundled out by the two grand finalists Parramatta (Knights) and New Zealand (Raiders).
Both clubs have fielded strong squads minus a few key names (because it’s the pre-season): the Raiders are without Blake Austin and Shaun Fensom due to injury, whilst the Knights are missing Jarrod Mullen due to suspension.
It’s Late and I’m Tired
I’m not going to write little paragraphs on every single aspect of this game because it’s a trial match and it’s already past my bedtime. So here’s things I want to see in the broadcast (via either the Raiders or Knights sites dontcha know!?) I want to see Soliola lead like he did last year, I want to see Sezer make that ball do the bidding of his boot, I want to see Vaughan tear into the line and Papalii to put on some bone rattling tackles. I want to see Rapana run in that gritty and determined lil-engine-that-could fashion of his. I want to see a Raiders win but most of all I want to see a side that is confident and well drilled, disciplined in defence and hungry for metres.
HOT BLOOD AND COURAGE RAIDERS!!!