The Raiders entered round 20 without Papalii, and only a slim chance of beating the Storm. They left it without Soliola and Rapana. If the season was on life support going into round 20 then it is well and truly dead now.
Sia’s suspension also turns a glaring spotlight on the Raiders forwards problem. A forward pack that was already struggling now finds itself without two key players, and their understudies are not overly impressive. Clay Priest has sauntered back onto the bench, while Bateman has returned to the starting lineup.
Joe Tapine has been shuffled into the second row, whilst veteran Jeff Lima has been recalled to the bench. With just two topline forwards gone the Raiders are already starting to struggle with depth, digging deeper and deeper into the Mounties player ranks. To add a further spin to this scenario Dave Taylor has signed with the Toronto Wolfpack ($1million/3years).
If there’s one good thing about round 21 it’s the fact that the Raiders face off with fellow strugglers the Rabbitohs. The Bunnies, like the Green Machine, have been unable to compete with Finals bound teams in recent weeks. While the Raiders can’t really do anything about their comatose season they do get a chance to analyse where things are going wrong (we at the Sportress already know what these things are, but Ricky won’t return our calls).
If the Raiders were flying high and do everything right I’d be able to write pages of stuff how about the exciting things we could see on Saturday night, but this is a Green Machine in dire need of a service. The Leipana thingy is broken and possibly out of warranty, the Hodgsonator needs retuning and the Halves cylinders are jammed, firing erratically at best.
The only thing for the Raiders left in 2017 is to take out their frustrations on their fellow languishers. Perhaps we can all learn a lesson now – never drink the Kool-Aid.
Hopefully a dead season eases the pressure.
Raiders by a Cotric hattrick!