The Raiders opened their 2016 account with a high interest win, losing gun halves Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer until at least round 6. The Roosters have had an even worse start, being comprehensively thumped by arch rivals Souths while missing at least three big names in Pearce, Hargreaves and Cordner.
The Raiders scratched out a win in sweltering conditions, taking a good lead over the Panthers before allowing the mountain men to claw their way in front, leaving fans on edge until the final stanza. Despite the hellish conditions most of the Green Machine impressed, and showed much improved defence from last year, even if there were a few costly lapses.
Conversely the Roosters looked to be asleep from the kick off, with the Bunnies tearing holes in their defence from both short and long range. Tries were scored from dummy half scoots and halfway gaps (seriously, GI’s try looks like he was walking through a turnstile to get into the stadium), with the Tri-colours suffering from the same compressed defence that has plagued the Raiders the last few years. A lack of real halves is detrimental indeed.
Speaking of halves, Canberra now gets to field the combination of Williams and Lachlan Croker. Croker by all accounts has the blessing of the entire 1st grade squad, and he’ll no doubt be drawing on that support as he takes on the rather tough Roosters pack.
So even with Sezer and Austin sidelined, there has never been a more opportune moment for the Raiders to give the Bondi bunch a really nasty shock. The temperature will still be above 30c on Saturday – be on the lookout for well-cooked chooks.
Ricky would’ve been ruing his costly round 1 success, but there’s no time to sit and moan about it. The first brick of Fortress Canberra has been cemented in place, now it’s time to build a wall.
Trent Robinson will no doubt be bringing fire, brimstone and curses on relatives to bear if the Roosters don’t step up their defensive game.
Rob’s Daly M Bingo Numbers
#7 Lachlan Croker
#9 Josh Hodgson #9 Jake Friend
#11 Sia Soliola
#13 Shaun Fensom #14 Sio Siua Taukeiaho
Seriously, I looked at the Roosters stats and they were the only ones who even tried.
The Raiders need to strike hard and fast on Saturday, the ideal strategy being to target the Roosters youngsters who struggled against the Bunnies. If the Green Machine can exploit the confidence aspect they can quickly wreak havoc. Attack must of course must be matched by defence!
Raiders by at least 8 (but let’s hope for 40)!