Where to even start with the abject failure that was last night’s match between the Dragons and the Raiders? I thought long and hard about the game, long after its ridiculous finish, and decided that rather than launch into a long technical breakdown of play (which Dan is way better at) that I’d address key points. In mini chapters. That’s right we’re having chapters. Got a coffee? Good, let’s start.
Stadium & Facilities
Possibly one of the most poorly presented games in modern day television. While I realise that the failure of a nearby substation is beyond the control of ground staff perhaps some redundant systems (They’re called generators) might be in order? Light towers are very energy intensive, but they could have provided some level of illumination at the dead end to help balance out the ground.
An APB on Raiders Halves
Apart from getting a broken nose and hitting the uprights you’d be hard pressed to point to inspirational plays from either Austin or Sezer. Sezer’s best game of the season remains his round 1 effort, while Austin just isn’t showing the form that he had in 2015. Does Sam Williams get another run or does Ricky stick with these two in the hopes that they click into gear sooner rather than later? Josh Hodgson can’t do everything himself…
Josh Hodgson needs a break
Canberra’s super rake has been a shadow of his most glorious self the last few rounds. Regardless of whether he still has a niggling injury or is becoming frustrated with the lack of intent from his spine, one thing is clear – the man needs a break. Here’s my solution. Invert Hodgson and Baptistes playing minutes. Yeah, I know Baptiste will always be 2nd string to Hodgson, but two games in a row now he has been the energising spark late in the game. He’s playing straighter, delivers reasonable service and is keen to run it from dummy. Let Hodgson take a break and inject himself from the bench, maybe 10 minutes at the end of each half.
Depending on which site you ask (not NRL.com as they failed to supply relevant data) the Raiders dropped the ball between 15-19 times. Even the low end of that range is unacceptable for a first grade team. Too often the Green Machine dropped it either in a prime attacking position or coming out of their own half, undoing decent work in the lead up.
Oh Dear God Wighton What are you doing?
It’s pretty fair to say that last night’s game is probably Wighton’s worst ever performance. Dropped ball on the try line. Dropped ball defending his line. Error, error. And then that golden point halftime brain snap. Game over man, game over. Fingers crossed that he sticks to the basics next time out.
Blake’s Schnozz, Refs not soz
Soooooo now replays are inadmissible? Barring this new and sudden un-rule that the bunker can longer interject on foul play, how on earth did the match officials miss Blake Austin getting bopped so hard on the nose that he bled profusely all over the place? We can excuse the touchie on the far side of the field, but for the other sideline runner and the two on-field refs to miss this is appalling. If players can be found guilty of other misdemeanours via replay then surely this should have warranted a Raiders penalty.
Ashley Klein you suck
While poor Jack did have a shocker of a game there was one point where he well and truly got dudded by the ref – the Dragons kick that hit the crossbar. In no way anywhere in the realm of physics did Wighton knock it on, yet the refs quickly ruled that exactly that had happened, then ignored the video evidence and proceeded with a Raiders line dropout.
ALL HAIL JARROD CROKER!!!
While the rest of the match may have been one huge clusterf**k there was one bright shining point for Raiders fans to take away – Jarrod Croker’s move to the highest scoring spot at the Raiders. Even more fittingly he secured the record through his own try and subsequent conversion. Records aside, Croker’s efforts last night were man of the match stuff for the Green Machine. Repeatedly he managed to stand in tackles and walk forward with multiple defenders hanging off him, a massive feat of strength for a relatively small centre.