Hello darkness, my old friend.
The Raiders kicked their annual misery tour into high gear on Sunday with a woeful capitulation to an average Knights outfit. For an extra kick in the teeth Jack Wighton got suspended for three games for not one but two high/dangerous contact reports and then announced that he was pushing his boat out into the open waters of the player market to test his worth. To cap this all off, on Friday night at 6pm the Raiders have to play reigning premiers Penrith.
I’ll be frank, dear readers. If Canberra front up with the form they showed last round it will be a blood bath. The Knights ended up running through Canberra’s defence like a bad curry goes through you at 2am. The Panthers may not be currently revving in top gear but even their current speed is more than enough to poke holes in the Milk’s defence whilst also repelling their insipid attack.
The only real way for Canberra to win this one is to stumble through a portal into a parallel world where they’re really, really good.
Team list thoughts
Wighton out, Fogarty back in to partner with Frawley. I for one would have liked to see Schneider get a crack, partly because I feel he can maybe spark a bit more creativity. Rapana returns, bumping young Schiller back down to NSW Cup. Jordy really needs to be the elder statesman of the backline this round – no brainfarts please.
Everything else remains stable (for now), which is critical when it comes to regaining lost form. The Raiders desperately need confidence in themselves as individuals and as a unit.
Definitely not writing about halves pairings head to head. Canberra need to win the battle of the packs and then kick long and early. Pressure, completions and more pressure (on the Panthers, please). Tapine remains in stat- busting form and it’s up to his colleagues in the engine room to try and keep up. Penrith have the likes of Yeo and JFH to contend with, both of whom are very hard to contain and can spark attacking raids if they get the ball free past the defensive line.
I would really like two competition points this round, but the realist in me acknowledges this is akin to wanting national infrastructure to be completed on time and in budget. If the Raiders can play smart footy they can test the Panthers, but they can’t afford silly mistakes or lax periods of play.
Penrith by “Please don’t hurt us too much”
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