Raiders Rumble! Raiders vs Sea-Eagles Round 23 Preview

BY ROB

How are you friends? Tired? Anxious? Sad? A big section of the Raiders’ faithful are under lockdown. We can’t see our family and friends, many of us can’t work. Each day is a grind, waiting for fresh data that informs our outlook for tomorrow. We know that we’ll be in this predicament until September, if not longer.

Yet each week we are afforded two hours of time where the troubles of 2021, while not completely erased, are pushed into the background. For two hours we can bleed green.

The Raiders were imperfect but courageous against the Storm. In almost every other timeline the Storm would’ve simply bashed us by 40+, but in the end the margin was just 10 points. Against any other side that effort would have had a much better chance of being a winning one.

Manly are the resurrected team of 2021. Slumming it in the opening rounds after Tom Turbo did his hammy once again the Brookvale boys struggled for traction, unable to put away objectively worse teams. Since Trbojevic’s return Manly have rundown nearly every team bar the Storm.

The Raiders mission here is simple – take the positives from the Storm game and magnify them. Shift the ball early in attack, make Manly cover as much ground as possible. Kick early to corners (if struggling to leave one’s own half). If in decent territory send up a bomb, but reinforce it by following through with the chase.

Manly tried these tactics against Melbourne, and they nearly worked. V’landysball will, like every other era, eventually be “solved” by all teams, and early shift does seem one way around the problem (boom tish).

Earlier this week Raiders fans savoured the idea of facing a turbo-less Manly, however the Eagles confirmed he was in. The Raiders for their part have named star fullback Charnze Nikoll-Klokstad on the bench, way ahead of his original 2022 return.

I personally always get a bit nervy with these sped-up returns (Campo’s groin) but I trust that CNK and the club doctors know what they’re doing.

The Raiders are running out of chances to leave their mark on the 2021 finals. After this game there’s only two rounds left. There’s every chance the Raiders will find themselves at the mercy of ladder-maths. A win over Manly would not only give them confidence but strengthen their case for a top 8 spot.

So Friday night kick back and stress over the Raiders for 80 minutes, leaving the world to it’s own devices for a while.

Raiders by a try after a Sam Williams kick ricochets off DCE’s head and is pounced on by a Raider to score!

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