Raiders Rumble! Round 2 vs the Dolphins (aka the Phintom Menace)


The Raiders rallied after a difficult first half to push the Cowboys all the way in their encounter in Townsville. The sapping conditions and a well oiled Cowboys attack took their toll on the Green Machine, but the Milk showed plenty of spirit and defensive cohesion during large portions of the game.

Further south the Dolphins were making history. The Roosters were easy favourites, even with some personnel missing due to injury. Over the first 80 minutes of their active NRL existence the Dolphins demonstrated what can happen when you assemble a good squad of good players, sans marquee star, and coach them how to play good, strong footy.

The challenge for the Raiders in round 2 is to take all the positives from last week and fashion them into a win over a new side now brimming with confidence.

Team list thoughts

There are two notable absences this week, the first of them being Jordan Rapana. The veteran winger took an early guilty plea for a shoulder charge in round 1 and will be unavailable until round 5. Sticky can’t be too phinicky with his backline troops and has selected youngster Albert Hopoate in his stead. Hopoate showed good signs during his limited game time in 2022, and I suspect Stuart has selected him to keep the Raiders round defence intact.

Big Papa is the other absence, still waiting on a suspected calf injury to come good. He’s been travelling and training with the squad, which shows that his return is not far off, but one must assume that the strong showings from Saulo, Horsburgh and Guler last week has given Ricky the luxury of easing Papalii back into his starting spot.


Katoa & O’Sullivan vs Wighton & Fogarty. The Raiders halves will need to have their proper phinking caps on this round if they’re to have more input into proceedings. Even though Wighton scored one of the three Canberra tries last week it’s safe to say that none of the scoring creativity came from either our 6 or 7.

The other area of interest is Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow up against Sebastian Kris. The “Hammer” was one of the stars for the ‘Phins last week and is easily one of their bigger inaugural signings. Kris meanwhile is a still-in-development centre who now finds himself with the unenviable task of being a makeshift custodian. He switched and swapped with Rapana last week a little bit, and then lost ten minutes of game time to a HIA. The good news is that after he returned to the field he found a new gear, producing good metres on kick returns.


The Raiders can get their season rolling here, but they’ll need to be more resolute in defence than last week and certainly more structured in attack. The Dolphins will be keen to see how long they can go undefeated, and Canberra needs to muscle them early while putting points on or face a scenario similar to last week.

I reckon the Milk can get it done if they knuckle down for 80 so let’s say Raiders by six.

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One comment

  1. The defence looks well sorted & now it will be up to the attack to challenge the opposition, to tire their middles by positive lateral movement. If the Raiders resort to ‘Jacky Ball’ the Phins will beat us & beat us comprehensively


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