Through green eyes 2019

All the news on the Canberra Raiders NRL team, all in one place

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gangrenous
Ricky Stuart
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by gangrenous » August 19, 2019, 10:42 pm

You only get so much kudos when it’s self-inflicted hardship I think is the issue here RR

RedRaider
Steve Walters
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by RedRaider » August 21, 2019, 6:27 am

Sorry Gangers, I'm not quite following you. Are you saying a player in his FIRST season who has had an outstanding match, is having his rating on that match influenced by performances earlier in his initial season? Surely game day ratings are based on what has happened in the match under assessment. We all formerly were against Referees having a 'tip sheet' of ratings of certain players and hence Fensom would cop a penalty in the first few minutes of every match even though the penalised 'hold downs' were of less time than other players. Players should start each match with a 'clean sheet' as far as ratings go.

If I have your post wrong Gangers, can you clarify it a bit more for me please?

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gangrenous
Ricky Stuart
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by gangrenous » August 21, 2019, 6:55 am

What I was trying to say was I agree that it was indeed a Herculean effort by the Raiders to limit the damage from the Storm over that period.

But - that doesn’t get as much respect or kudos in this instance as it would have if the Storm’s field position had come from some combination of bad bounces of the ball, poor refereeing, sheer excellence of the storm. When you put yourselves in that position as a team largely through your own poor decision making, you get less credit for digging yourself out of it.

It’s like me failing all the early exams in a subject and then finally putting in and studying hard to ace the final and still pass. People look at you and go “well, why didn’t you just not screw up earlier”...

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » August 22, 2019, 3:34 pm

Through green eyes: Time to stop the rubbish

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The Canberra Raiders' produced one of their most memorable comebacks in their history last weekend against the Melbourne Storm.

They trailed 18-0 after 30 minutes, after two Canberra players had been sent to the sin bin. Then the Raiders scored an unanswered 22 points. It was the Storm's worst ever collapse. The fact that their previous worst collapse was just 16 points tells you a lot about Melbourne, and what a feat it was for the Raiders.

I think it was the best performance that Canberra has produced since 2016 - when they beat the Sharks and the Storm back to back, late in the season. It may well be the Raiders' best win ever over the Storm. It is certainly up there with that win in 2016... and the victory in Canberra in 2009, which broke a 14 game losing streak against the men in purple.


2016 Round 23 - Canberra Raiders V Melbourne Storm

Sadly, the impressive performance was overshadowed in the days following - by the vision of Cameron Smith roughing up young Raider Bailey Simonsson.

The interchange between Smith and referee Ben Cummins after the Storm was penalised for the incident is now infamous.



"I just want some clarification on what that penalty was for there?" Smith asks .

"Rubbish on the face, mate, and it was you," Cummins said.

Smith continued the conversation with the referee for an age, apparently incredulous that he was caught and penalised.

"I can only tell you so many times mate... I can't tell you anymore, Cameron," Cummins said.

The Storm's wrestling tactics had been under the spotlight in the week leading up to the Raiders' game - largely because Melbourne forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona escaped any charge from the match review committee for a crusher tackle on the Rabbitohs' Dean Britt. Not to mention the latest tactic of the Storm players' leading with their elbows when in possession.



The Storm's response to that - and the Cameron Smith incident - followed the usual path. "This comes up at the same time every year. Everyone does it. Everyone else is picking on us. We don't practice those tactics. Nobody works harder than we do."

From the Raiders' match, they combed through the video and highlighted a tackle from John Bateman to prove their point that "everybody is doing it".

There's some truth in that. Every team now practices the wrestle. But the fact is, the Melbourne Storm has introduced just about every illegal wrestling move to the game. The "chicken wing", the "crusher", the "rolling pin"... and now the "wing nut".

And that is why "everyone picks on" the Storm.

The wrestle is no doubt here to stay. There's nothing that the NRL can really do about it, apart from a penalty blitz... and remember what happened when they tried that.

But the NRL can and should stamp out "the rubbish".

There were some dinosaurs in the media this week telling us how facials, twisting ears and worse were "standard" thirty years ago. I've been watching rugby league for long enough to tell you that's true.

But this is 2019. I don't watch rugby league to marvel at the facials, wing nuts and chicken wings. I watch rugby league to marvel at hard, tough, fair tackles. I watch rugby league to marvel at the amazing runs, the pin point kicks, the astonishing passes and the incredible tries.

It's time to stop the rubbish.

***

I've no doubt the team has put all that behind them - and much earlier in the week than the commentators and fans.

The victory over the Storm will have given the Raiders some confidence that they can beat the best that the competition has to offer. While their coach Ricky Stuart might publicly deny it, it was important as Canberra had come close to, but had not beaten, a fellow top four team in 2019.

But is also important to now focus on the task ahead - a clash with the fourth placed Sea Eagles.

A win is critical if the Raiders are to solidify their position in third place - and maybe have a shot at second.

After the Sea Eagles, Canberra has a road trip to Cronulla to face the Sharks, before returning home for their final regular season match against the New Zealand Warriors.

The Raiders may be able to drop a couple of games and still finish third. They certainly can't afford to drop all three. That would undoubtedly mean a finish outside the top four. But two wins should see them very safely take third place - setting up a likely meeting with the Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground in week one of the finals.

To get second, the Raiders really to win all three of their remaining games, rack up some margins and hope the Roosters drop at least one of their three final matches against the Dragons, Panthers and Rabbitohs. Realistically, it is more likely the Roosters need to drop two.

In any case, I'm sure Ricky Stuart will have his charges following the mantra of "one week at a time".

Yet again, it will be a tough match for the Raiders on Sunday. It should be huge crowd at Canberra Stadium, with the atmosphere thick. There is something about the Sea Eagles' style of play which the Raiders find hard to deal with. They have attacking weapons all over the park. They love to offload and they're very hard to stop when they get momentum. It is something Canberra failed to do last time the teams met at Brookvale Oval. They couldn't get the win, even though halfback Daly Cherry-Evans spent most of the second half on the sidelines injured.

The Raiders' defence will have to be on point this time. They'll have to move up quickly, win the rucks and stop the Manly offloads. But let's not forget the Raiders have also improved over the course of the year. I think they'll have the game plan to win. I've tipped the Raiders by two in a close one.

It is great to see we will have an old fashioned triple header on Sunday. The Raiders' Jersey Flegg team will face the Manly Sea Eagles, while Canberra's NSW Cup affiliate, Mounties, meet the Blacktown Sea Eagles. The Under 20s will be hoping to finish their season strongly so as to force their way into the top four, while Mounties will want to get their third win in a row. Get to the ground early and support both teams!

It is finals time in the Canberra Raiders Cup. The Goulburn Bulldogs are up against the Queanbeyan Kangaroos in the elimination final on Saturday, while the Queanbeyan Blues meet the Tuggeranong Bushrangers in the Grand Final qualifier on Sunday. Sadly, Sunday's games clash with the triple header at Canberra Stadium. But in any event, if you can't get to either game, you can catch them via the Bar TV Sports live stream.





***

Every week I rate the Raiders players on a scale of 0-10... and here are the total points and average points per match after the clash with the Storm. Let us know if you agree with the ratings... or not!

Total points

Josh Papalii 155
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 149
Elliott Whitehead 141
Jack Wighton 140
Jarrod Croker 136
Sia Soliola 136
John Bateman 135
Josh Hodgson 127
Dunamis Lui 123
Siliva Havili 112
Ryan Sutton 108
Nick Cotric 100
Corey Horsburgh 99
Jordan Rapana 97
Bailey Simonsson 91
Joe Tapine 81
Aidan Sezer 76
Sam Williams 59
Joey Leilua 53
Hudson Young 48
Michael Oldfield 48
Emre Guler 35
Sebastian Kris 15
Tom Starling 15
Jack Murchie 6
JJ Collins 4

Average points per match

John Bateman 7.5
Josh Papalii 7.4
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 7.1
Josh Hodgson 7.1
Elliott Whitehead 6.7
Jack Wighton 6.7
Joey Leilua 6.6
Jarrod Croker 6.5
Sia Soliola 6.5
Ryan Sutton 6.4
Aidan Sezer 6.3
Corey Horsburgh 6.2
Bailey Simonsson 6.1
Jordan Rapana 6.1
Jack Murchie 6.0
Michael Oldfield 6.0
Sam Williams 5.9
Nick Cotric 5.9
Dunamis Lui 5.9
Joe Tapine 5.8
Siliva Havili 5.6
Hudson Young 5.3
Emre Guler 5.0
Sebastian Kris 5.0
Tom Starling 5.0
JJ Collins 4.0

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » August 26, 2019, 11:17 am

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"When we played how we spoke [about] we were very good, but there wasn't enough parts of the game where we stuck to it. You can't take things into your own hands and go against what we spoke about and practised, those things happen, and you make it harder on yourself... You can look at a lot of press conferences this year and I keep saying the same thing, if you keep giving opportunities to good teams they’re going to beat you. They played tougher than us and for longer.

We're still in the fight, we've got to go hear about it, go see it now and we've got to make a decision if we want to improve on it and that's my job with the prep going forward in the next couple of games and going into the semi-finals."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart


Round 23 2019. Manly Sea Eagles 18 - Canberra Raiders 14. It was for the most part, an ugly, stop-start affair. There were 16 penalties in the first half and 26 overall. The Sea Eagles came to Canberra Stadium with their usual tactics - to niggle, stand off side, get off the line "early" on the edges and slow the game whenever the Raiders were in possession. It was frustrating, and despite that the Raiders were the better team for a good part of the game.



But the Sea Eagles were good too, when they played football. Their forwards were very damaging with the ball, and they took their opportunities in attack. To give them their due, they did it with two players only on the bench for much of the game, with injury taking Joel Thompson and Moses Suli out of the contest.

On the positive side, the Raiders only conceded two tries, and one was from a dubious intercept. We have not yet seen the vision which would definitively prove whether Manly second rower Jack Gosiewski was off side when he intercepted a Josh Hodgson pass on his own goal line. We do know that a large number of Manly players were off side on the play. The second Manly try, to Jake Trbojevic, came off the back of a dubious strip penalty against Elliott Whitehead. The ball was simply dislodged in the tackle.

By the by, it wasn't the only dubious strip penalty for the Sea Eagles - as they strategically let go of the ball in tackles, before the Raiders could try their now famous one-on-one steals. That generated at least one Manly penalty goal.

The other call that Raiders fans were left ruing was the Jack Wighton "no try" in the first half. If Jarrod Croker grounded the ball against the Melbourne Storm a week ago, Jack Wighton certainly did in this match. He didn't ever lose control of the ball, though Manly did their best to try and dislodge it. However, that's not how the referee saw it on field, and the bunker was not prepared to over-rule. If it had been sent up as a try, I suspect it would have been four points.

The bottom line, however, is that the Raiders were sucked in by the Sea Eagles' niggling tactics and were ill disciplined at crucial times. Joey Leilua conceding an eight point try was very costly, after knees into the back of the try scorer, Reuben Garrick. Ill discipline didn't cost the Raiders a remarkable win in Melbourne. But most weeks, against top opposition, things like that come back to bite you.

We can now sit back and analyse the various refereeing calls all we like, but it makes no difference after the hooter. Ricky Stuart knows that there is nothing to be gained from focusing on the officiating. His post game comments were right on the mark on that - as they have been all year. Complaining about the refereeing is simply not productive. It gives the team an "excuse", when their focus should be on their own performance, the things they can control. Footy teams need to rise above any bad calls - especially if you want to keep the officials on side for future matches.

It is worrying that the Canberra Raiders have now played seven games against the other four teams scrapping for a top four spot in 2019 - and they have won just once. They have been close to the best teams in the league in all but one of those games - the 12 point loss to the Storm in Round 2. In the other six matches, the margin has never been more than six, and for the most part just four. But at the business end of the season, being close, being in the contest, won't be good enough. The team will need to learn from the sort of loss we saw yesterday - and work out how to improve.

It doesn't get easier next week. A visit to Shark Park, for the final home game for captain Paul Gallen. It'll be a cauldron. But it is also an opportunity - to get a win in yet another game of semi-final intensity. And if the Raiders want to be certain of a top four finish, nothing less than a victory will do.



Stats that mattered?

The Raiders finished with a 52 per cent share of possession. Both teams produced nine errors and had a similar completion rate (Sea Eagles 77 per cent, Raiders 76 per cent) - but the Sea Eagles conceded a whopping 15 penalties, compared with 11 by the Raiders. The Raiders made more runs (174-165), running metres (1648-1411), post contact metres (590-524), kick return metres (138-76), line breaks (4-1), tackle breaks (29-26), and offloads (19-10). The Sea Eagles made more kicking metres (520-310) from roughly the same number of kicks (Manly 15, Raiders 13). Canberra forced one line drop out, and the Sea Eagles none. Manly got one 40/20 kick, but not that it really mattered, as the Sea Eagles almost immediately spilled the ball.

The Raiders had the better effective tackle rate (88.1 per cent, compared with 82.7 per cent for the Sea Eagles). Both teams made almost the same number of tackles (Raiders 288, Sea Eagles 287) - but Manly missed more (29-26) and produced way more ineffective tackles (31-13).

There is a case, statistically, that the Raiders were the better team on the day. But not where it counted on the scoreboard. I thought the Raiders were clearly the better team in the first half - but they led by only four points at the break, conceding two late penalty goals. And ultimately, "little" moments of ill discipline proved the difference.

Memorable moments?

Jarrod Croker scored all 14 points for the Green Machine. The better of his two tries was the second - with an outstanding run from Jack Wighton setting up a brilliant four pointer - with Hudson Young delivering a great final pass. In defence, Croker was in the midst of it again in the 27th minute - when he produced an amazing try saving tackle on Reuben Garrick, dislodging the ball. It should be in the running for the tackle of the week... and in the running for the Raiders' tackle of the year.

Before I finish... a word on the new protocol where trainers can ask for play to be stopped to attend an injured player. Yesterday, we saw play stopped by a Manly trainer, when the Raiders were right on the attack, and the Sea Eagles were in disarray. Jordan Rapana had taken a quick tap after a penalty for a high tackle. And the play was then stopped dead in its tracks. There was no need for play to stop. The Sea Eagles player had no difficulty walking off the field. No one wants to see genuinely injured players left unattended and in a dangerous position on the field. But Manly deliberately used this rule to stop play - and the NRL needs to look at fixing it.

Best performers?

Jarrod Croker. Two tries, eight runs for 80 metres, one line break, three tackle breaks, 11 tackles.

Josh Papalii. 17 runs for 172 metres, 75 post contact metres, one line break assist, one tackle break, four offloads, 29 tackles in 56 minutes.

Jack Wighton. 11 runs for 128 metres, 24 post contact metres, two line breaks, eight tackle breaks, three kicks for 86 metres. Only blot on the copy book was a 69 per cent tackle efficiency rate.

Top tacklers: John Bateman 36, Josh Hodgson 36, Josh Papalii 32, Ryan Sutton 31.
Most metres gained: Josh Papalii 172, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 153, Sia Soliola 133.

My player ratings:

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 6
Nick Cotric 5
Jarrod Croker 8
Joey Leilua 4
Jordan Rapana 7
Jack Wighton 8
Aidan Sezer 5
Josh Papalii 8
Josh Hodgson 7
Sia Soliola 7
John Bateman 7
Elliott Whitehead 6
Ryan Sutton 7

Bailey Simonsson 3
Dunamis Lui 5
Corey Horsburgh 7
Hudson Young 7

Do you agree or disagree with the ratings? Let us know!

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RedRaider
Steve Walters
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by RedRaider » August 26, 2019, 9:08 pm

I agree with your comments about the Manly trainer determining when play can go on. It was a page taken from the Chooks match two weeks earlier. To disrupt the Raiders momentum simply have a player go to ground and then have a trainer bring the Refs attention to him. Abuse of the rule imo. I agree with your player ratings with my only question marks being around Lui and EW. A touch low.

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » August 26, 2019, 10:49 pm

I’m happy I’ve almost made Red happy this week! :cool:
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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » August 29, 2019, 6:23 pm

Through green eyes: Stop, start

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There has been a lot of focus on the officiating in the Canberra Raiders match against the Manly Sea Eagles - after referees' boss Graham Annesley admitted that Manly forward, Jack Gosiewski was off side when he took an intercept, which led to an eight point try for the Sea Eagles.

That's a big error, in a game decided by four points.

In a match where the referees blew 27 penalties - some of which were clearly unjustified and seriously disrupted the flow of the game - they couldn't manage to intervene in a situation where they actually should have. Even if they couldn't quite see that Gosiewski had left the line early, there were at least a few Manly players obviously not standing on the goal line at the ruck. Manly's off side play was blatant.

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You know, sometimes I think it'd be better if Graham Annesley didn't brief the press every Monday on the long list of the officiating blunders. It is almost worse knowing your team has been dudded!

I think Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is doing a great job this year in refusing to blame the refereeing for losses. That's exactly the line a footy coach should take - keeping the focus of the players on their own performance, on the things they can control. He's no doubt repeating the mantra - the team has to rise above the bad calls. It is pretty clear the club has also learned that criticising the performance of the referees in public just gets them off side. No pun intended.

However, this week, I think the Raiders fans are entitled to vent just a little.



The other issue that has been discussed at length by fans this week has been the NRL's HIA protocols. Play was stopped on Sunday afternoon, for Sea Eagles forward Morgan Boyle to be removed for a head injury assessment, just at the point Jordan Rapana had taken a quick tap - with Manly's defences in disarray. No one wants to see a player in that situation endangered or remain on the field for a second longer than necessary. But on the weekend, it took almost two minutes between his injury and the time that play was stopped and he walked off the field.

Graham Annesley has defended the handling of the incident - and said that the process was followed correctly and not strategically used to stop play. I'm not suggesting otherwise, having seen his detailed explanation. However, I am left wondering if the procedures could be improved - to get players off faster, and without always stopping play - particularly where players can leave the field unaided.

More broadly, I think some clubs are certainly using injury stoppages strategically - and we saw that in the Raiders' clash with the Roosters a few weeks ago. The NRL really needs to look at the "stop-start" tactics I believe some clubs are employing - preferably before the finals arrive.

***

It has been a tough month for the Raiders, having faced three, top-four opponents in a row - and coming up with just one win. Now they face a seventh placed Sharks outfit - in the final home game for Cronulla captain Paul Gallen, in front of a sell out crowd.

The loss to the Sea Eagles means that the Raiders realistically cannot take second place. And even if they lose to the Sharks this weekend - they should finish in the top four, most probably in third. However, they certainly can't afford to drop both of the remaining games of the regular season.

Based on the comments from the players, this week the Raiders have been very keen to learn the lessons of the loss to the Sea Eagles. Manly employed tactics that the Sharks will likely employ on Sunday. They will stand off side, lie in the rucks, rush up on the edges - and be prepared to give away penalties until the referee gives up and puts the whistle in the pocket.

The Sharks have been in form over the past five weeks, winning four home games straight, with just one away loss. I've tipped the Sharks by two in a very close game. But I hope the Raiders spoil the Paul Gallen "party". Nothing would please me more this year, than if that were to happen - maybe apart from a Raiders' Grand Final victory. If the Raiders can avoid the niggle and win the middle, that will go a long way to getting a victory. The Raiders' defence will need to be brutal, and they'll need to frustrate the Sharks into error. It'll be very tough, but I hope they can do it.

On Saturday, the Raiders' Jersey Flegg team will face the St George Illawarra Dragons at Shellharbour. Hopefully they can get the win and secure a top four finish in the last match of the regular season. Canberra's NSW Cup affiliate, Mounties, meet the North Sydney Bears at Aubrey Keech Reserve. They too can get a top four spot, if they win and the results go their way.

The Canberra Raiders Cup Preliminary Final on Sunday sees the Tuggeranong Bushrangers face the Goulburn Bulldogs at Gungahlin. It shapes as a great game, but sadly it clashes with the Canberra Raiders meeting with the Sharks. It is surely something that could have easily been avoided. You can see a live stream of the game, thanks to Bar TV Sports on YouTube.



***

Every week I rate the Raiders players on a scale of 0-10... and here are the total points and average points per match after the clash with the Sea Eagles. Let us know if you agree with the ratings... or not!

Total points

Josh Papalii 163
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 155
Jack Wighton 148
Elliott Whitehead 147
Jarrod Croker 144
Sia Soliola 143
John Bateman 142
Josh Hodgson 134
Dunamis Lui 128
Ryan Sutton 115
Siliva Havili 112
Corey Horsburgh 106
Nick Cotric 105
Jordan Rapana 104
Bailey Simonsson 94
Aidan Sezer 81
Joe Tapine 81
Sam Williams 59
Joey Leilua 57
Hudson Young 55
Michael Oldfield 48
Emre Guler 35
Sebastian Kris 15
Tom Starling 15
Jack Murchie 6
JJ Collins 4

Average points per match

John Bateman 7.5
Josh Papalii 7.4
Josh Hodgson 7.1
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 7.0
Jack Wighton 6.7
Elliott Whitehead 6.7
Jarrod Croker 6.5
Sia Soliola 6.5
Ryan Sutton 6.4
Joey Leilua 6.3
Corey Horsburgh 6.2
Aidan Sezer 6.2
Jordan Rapana 6.1
Jack Murchie 6.0
Michael Oldfield 6.0
Sam Williams 5.9
Bailey Simonsson 5.9
Nick Cotric 5.8
Dunamis Lui 5.8
Joe Tapine 5.8
Siliva Havili 5.6
Hudson Young 5.5
Emre Guler 5.0
Sebastian Kris 5.0
Tom Starling 5.0
JJ Collins 4.0

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Boomercm
Sam Backo
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by Boomercm » August 29, 2019, 10:20 pm

Great wrap up of last week.

But I think you are wrong about this week. We are like a Group 1 horse dropping back in grade. Take us 13+

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » September 2, 2019, 9:52 am

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"From a coach’s point of view it’s fantastic for the players themselves [to make the top four]. They’ve worked enormously hard, but also for all our members and fans at home. We also play for them. But we haven’t done anything yet. We’ve made the top four which is a fantastic achievement for a club that was not expected to make the eight. But we haven’t done anything. A new competition starts in two weeks' time."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart


Round 24 2019. Canberra Raiders 15 - Cronulla Sharks 14. It was the most extraordinary of golden point victories for the Canberra Raiders in a cauldron. It was a sell out crowd at Cronulla, the final home game ever for the Sharks' captain Paul Gallen, and a match the Sharks had to win to secure a finals spot. The Sharks were primed to be at their most intense for their captain. They dominated possession and territory in the first half - and dominated the scoreboard. The Sharks scored three tries and held the Raiders scoreless. At times Canberra looked weary, after three tough encounters against top four opposition. But in an epic second half, the Raiders came back, scoring twice. And in the end, Aidan Sezer's extraordinary third field goal of the match sealed it for Canberra - and sealed a top four finish for the Green Machine.



At half time I did not think the Raiders could come back in the second half, such was the superiority of the Sharks. But Cronulla's Kyle Flanagan failed to convert a single try, and 12-0 was not an insurmountable lead. The field goals started early, 10 minutes from the end of regulation time - and both teams ended up scoring two of them to force extra time. The game management wasn't perfect from Canberra in the final stages - but it was certainly good enough. Not so long ago, the Raiders could barely manage a field goal in a season. For one Raider to score three in a match of that import, of that intensity - that was a special performance. No Raider before Aidan Sezer has ever done that.



Stats that mattered?

The teams finished with an equal share of possession, after the Sharks had 56 per cent of the ball and territory in the first half. The Raiders had the better completion rate (86 per cent, compared with 81 per cent for the Sharks) - with the Sharks making more errors (10-6). Canberra conceded one more penalty than Cronulla (6-5).

Despite the Sharks' control of the first half, overall the Raiders made more runs (206-169), running metres (2033-1851), post contact metres (563-604), kick return metres (314-173) and offloads (14-9). The Raiders also made more kicking metres (676-626), despite the Sharks making slightly more kicks (24-22). However, Canberra's long kicks did not hold up at key times, with the Raiders conceding seven tackle sets. The Sharks forced two line drop outs, to one for the Raiders. The Sharks finished just ahead in tackle breaks (36-35) and line breaks (4-3).

The Raiders had the better effective tackle rate (89.4 per cent, compared with 86.8 per cent for the Sharks). The Sharks made slightly more tackles (395-389) - but missed 35 (Raiders 36) and produced 25 ineffective tackles (Raiders 10). The bulk of those missed tackles for the Raiders came in the first half.

Memorable moments?

Remarkably, the Raiders won having scored just two tries, to the Sharks' three. Both were very good. The first was the result of an outstanding pass from Josh Hodgson, perfectly setting up Charzne Nicoll-Klokstad for four points. But the best of them was the second - with Jarrod Croker escaping the in-goal and running almost 90 metres before he could be caught by Josh Morris. The run from the co-captain had left the Sharks at sixes and sevens. There were three Raiders outside him at the ruck, and the ball sang through their hands, with Nick Cotric crossing. What a try, to level the game.

Then how about those field goals from Aidan Sezer? There were five one pointers scored, three from Sezer. The last left the Sharks shattered, the huge crowd murmuring uneasily. It was a sweet moment for every Raiders fan there. And it was a moment that could well launch a final charge for the Green Machine through the finals.

The win gives the Raiders a very good opportunity to finish in third place. It was hardly a perfect performance. The wrong options were taken at times - there were some defensive errors in the first half, some imperfect kicks. At one stage at the death, the ball was sent wide, when the right play was to pass to Sezer for the field goal. With seconds left on the clock in the first half, a quick tap was taken by Hudson Young when the best option was to take the penalty goal from in front. But in the end, the Raiders just refused to lose that game.

That sort of win builds even more character, resilience and confidence. After a month of football of semi final intensity, the Raider have won two, and lost two. But they can surely not be any more ready for the challenge now ahead.

Best performers?

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. One try, 25 runs for 246 metres, 101 kick return metres, 77 post contact metres, one line break, one line break assist, one try assist, six tackle breaks, two kicks defused.

John Bateman. 15 runs for 198 metres, 76 post contact metres, six tackle breaks, three offloads, 41 tackles, 95.3 per cent tackle efficiency. Mea culpa here... I might not have rated him so highly directly after the game. There was an error, a breakdown. Perhaps he didn't produce the game changing moments we've seen from him before. He nearly did, an offload giving the Raiders a chance at a golden try. But on re-watching, that was one gutsy performance. All hail our English Lord!

Aidan Sezer. Three field goals, that's probably enough said! 12 runs for 92 metres, 23 post contact metres, three tackle breaks, one offloads, four dummies, 23 tackles, eight kicks for 189 metres, one bomb, one grubber.

Top tacklers: Josh Hodgson 53, John Bateman 41, Hudson Young 41, Elliott Whitehead 40.
Most metres gained: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 246, John Bateman 198, Bailey Simonsson 186, Jarrod Croker 172.

In the forwards, apart from John Bateman, Corey Horsburgh (161), Hudson Young (129), Josh Papalii (125), Sia Soliola (118) all broke 100 metres gained.

My player ratings:

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 8
Bailey Simonsson 6
Jarrod Croker 7
Nick Cotric 7
Jordan Rapana 6
Jack Wighton 7
Aidan Sezer 7
Josh Papalii 7
Josh Hodgson 7
Dunamis Lui 6
John Bateman 8
Elliott Whitehead 7
Ryan Sutton 6

Sia Soliola 7
Siliva Havili 4
Corey Horsburgh 7
Hudson Young 7

Do you agree or disagree with the ratings? Let us know!

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The Rickman
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by The Rickman » September 2, 2019, 9:58 am

Wait, how did you give Croker a 7?? I thought he had an AWFUL game and Billy Walker is ready to drop him again!

(FWIW, I agree with you, 7 is about spot on)
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by Bay53 » September 2, 2019, 10:18 am

Pleased to see Steve admitting that he got it wrong about John Bateman’s game.

I hope he will take back that surprised look he gave me when I gave him three votes on GH live.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by The Rickman » September 2, 2019, 10:19 am

Bateman was easily my best player on the ground, gee he's a good player.
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by sprintman » September 2, 2019, 11:54 am

Sutton average again. Carrying an injury?

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by Billy Walker » September 2, 2019, 11:57 am

No big arguments from me on those rating GE. CNK did drop an early bomb but recovered well. JC and Cotric perhaps both slightly generous. My only real question mark would be Havilli. Very limited opportunity but I thought he took a couple of very strong carries and did all that could be asked with the time he was given. I think he’s a 5 for mine.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by TongueFTW » September 2, 2019, 12:48 pm

Couldn't agree more with the ratings. CNK and Bateman won us that match. I thought CNK did extremely well to be there for the second try (to pass it on to Cotric). Very quick to change from defence to attack. Some of his runs in the second half set the tone.

One play that sums up Bateman for me - in our last set in regular time, we decided to run the ball on the last (probably to avoid another 7 tackle set). Bateman gets the ball 40 out. Initial contact 35 metres out from the Shark's line. He proceeds to carry them to 15 metres out (and is unlucky not to get a penalty for a strip). If he gets tackled at 35m and driven back, there's the game, as they get another shot. Pure skill and determination.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by -PJ- » September 2, 2019, 7:42 pm

Batemans stats are truely UNBELIEVEABLE...

What a player..loves the fight, hates losing.
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by BadnMean » September 2, 2019, 8:00 pm

TongueFTW wrote:
September 2, 2019, 12:48 pm
Couldn't agree more with the ratings. CNK and Bateman won us that match. I thought CNK did extremely well to be there for the second try (to pass it on to Cotric). Very quick to change from defence to attack. Some of his runs in the second half set the tone.

One play that sums up Bateman for me - in our last set in regular time, we decided to run the ball on the last (probably to avoid another 7 tackle set). Bateman gets the ball 40 out. Initial contact 35 metres out from the Shark's line. He proceeds to carry them to 15 metres out (and is unlucky not to get a penalty for a strip). If he gets tackled at 35m and driven back, there's the game, as they get another shot. Pure skill and determination.
Yeah I noticed that Bateman effort. Fact is I wasn't even surprised he pulled us out of the fire- impressed, yes- but not totally surprised when he jagged 30 odd metres off a dead carry with 4 blokes climbing on him.

CNK isn't quite at the Billy Slater level (or even Blake Austin when his head was in) backer upper level but he makes the effort to get their and he has a good instinct. Shown in his ability to find the stripe and popping up in places like yesterday when only 4-5 players from either side could get back for the contest, he was one. He uses so much more juice rucking out with tough carries than Slater or Austin to probably ever have the engine to get in their league but it's good to see him do it.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by BadnMean » September 2, 2019, 8:01 pm

Havilii was very good with ball in hand.

Why the 4? Only watched it once so surely even with limited minutes he's a 5. Did he miss some glaring tackle I missed?

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » September 2, 2019, 9:47 pm

BadnMean wrote:
September 2, 2019, 8:01 pm
Havilii was very good with ball in hand.

Why the 4? Only watched it once so surely even with limited minutes he's a 5. Did he miss some glaring tackle I missed?
Only played 10 minutes. I do adjust for limited minutes.
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by Cranky Old Man » September 2, 2019, 10:55 pm

I thought Havilli was worth an extra point, and I thought you were a point too generous to Cotric who was still off the pace in the first half (when we had little ball) but he came home with a wet sail in the second when we had the ball.

Bateman, CNK and Croker were excellent, Hodgson and Sezer predominantly very good.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by BadnMean » September 2, 2019, 11:14 pm

greeneyed wrote:
September 2, 2019, 9:47 pm
BadnMean wrote:
September 2, 2019, 8:01 pm
Havilii was very good with ball in hand.

Why the 4? Only watched it once so surely even with limited minutes he's a 5. Did he miss some glaring tackle I missed?
Only played 10 minutes. I do adjust for limited minutes.
Fair enough. Made enough impact in his 10 I didn't realise it was that short of a stint, even with extra time.

Should give him an extra point for doing it Chicka style- without his left boot- though.

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Through green eyes 2019

Post by LastRaider » September 3, 2019, 7:43 am

Everyone of those ratings is to generous except Bateman. Did you forget the first 40 mins GE where we let in 3 tries inand we scored none? What about the 20+ missed tackles in the first half and the 5 errors.

These ratings would be correct if you were just rating the second half, but we’re not as it is an 80 minute game

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » September 5, 2019, 3:01 pm

Through green eyes: A new Canberra Stadium

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The news broke this week that Raiders CEO Don Furner is not interested in a new 10 year deal to play at Canberra Stadium - with the current deal set to expire. Instead, the Green Machine only wants a five year deal - before a move to a new stadium in Civic.

Furner says a new deal will have to allow for the Raiders to play a home game at Wagga in 2020 - as Canberra has an agreement to play in the Riverina town for at least one more year. After that, the number of home games in Canberra is up for negotiation.

It is a bold move from Furner - designed to put a new Canberra Stadium back on the agenda.

The current Canberra Stadium was built at Bruce in 1977 for the Pacific Conference Games. It also hosted the World Cup in Athletics back in 1985, before the athletics track was torn up so that the Canberra Raiders could make the stadium their home in 1990.

The opening home game at what was then known as Bruce Stadium is one I'll long remember. The Raiders played their first game back in Canberra as the newly crowned premiers - following the fairytale 1989 Grand Final. It was the season opener, with the Raiders defeating St George, 26-10, in front of more than 22,000 adoring fans.

The venue was substantially refurbished for the 2000 Olympics, converting it into an all-seater stadium that could host Olympic soccer matches. But the Mal Meninga Grandstand was fundamentally left unchanged, while the eastern stand was extended and covered. At its core, it is still the stadium that was built in 1977.

On Saturday, the Raiders will complete their 30th regular season at the venue - though it is highly likely that there will be one more finals game played at the ground this year.

While I think the stadium is still one of the better NRL grounds, it is aged, as far as stadiums go - and does not offer the spectator experience of more modern facilities in Brisbane, Melbourne or even the Gold Coast.

The opening of the Western Sydney Stadium this year has highlighted how far Canberra is falling behind.

Parramatta Stadium was built in 1986, well after Canberra Stadium was constructed. Parramatta Stadium was torn down, as it had reached the end of its life. The new Western Sydney Stadium might not be perfect, but for a 30,000 seat venue, it is fairly close. It is steeply tiered, with fans close to the sidelines, and almost all seats are under cover. The lighting add to the experience and the food and bar facilities are good.

The Sydney Football Stadium was built in 1988. It too has been torn down - judged to be at the end of its life. A new 45,000 seat stadium will be built in its place - while Stadium Australia, built for the Olympics in 2000, will undergo a major $800 million refurbishment. A brand new stadium is also being built for the Cowboys in Townsville - which will open next year.

There has been talk of a new Canberra Stadium for many years. A new stadium was mooted back in 2012, when Australia was bidding for the soccer World Cup. The idea then was to build a new 40,000 seat stadium beside the current stadium, which could convert back to a 30,000 seat facility after the World Cup. Of course, when the bid failed, the federal funding and the plan disappeared.

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The other plan, also first mooted in 2012, was to build a new covered stadium along the lines of New Zealand's Dunedin Stadium. It was promised by 2020... and in 2013, the plan was announced to build it in Civic as part of the "City to the Lake" plan. That's been slowly put on the back burner, and pushed further and further back over time. The funding for the project was initially crowded out by "Mr Fluffy", by other infrastructure projects. The plan now seems to be bogged down in negotiations over purchasing the current stadium from the federal government and opening that site up for redevelopment - which could fund a new facility.

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But guess what? It is now nearly 2020 and nothing has happened.

I'd like to think the Canberra Raiders will be opening the NRL season in 2020 as reigning premiers - 30 years after they did it first. If it happens, it'll certainly be at the stadium where they played 30 years ago.

But a new stadium is overdue. The NSW Government's stadium re-building program was very controversial in the lead up to the last State election. Some argued that other infrastructure was more important. But in the end, it seems the new stadiums were actually popular. I think a new Canberra Stadium will be too.

We have an election in the ACT in 2020. For me, at least, action to deliver a new stadium will be a vote changer.

***

It has been a tough month for the Raiders, playing four games in a row of semi final intensity. The Raiders were in the contest in all of the games, and came away with remarkable wins over the Storm and the Sharks.

The one point victory over Cronulla last week has virtually assured Canberra a top four place. This weekend's games will decide just where they finish.

A fifth placing for Canberra is "mathematically" possible. The Raiders would have to lose, while the Rabbitohs would need to beat the Roosters and the Sea Eagles would need to win against the Eels. But not only that, the Raiders would need to lose by a massive margin, and the Sea Eagles would need to win by a massive margin - given Canberra's points differential is 88 points ahead of Manly.

But even if the Raiders were to lose to the Warriors on Saturday, they could still finish in third, provided the Rabbitohs also lose to the Roosters.

It has put the Raiders in the position where they can afford to "rest" players who have niggling injuries. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Sia Soliola, John Bateman and Jordan Rapana have all been given a week off. It appears other players - including Jarrod Croker, Josh Hodgson and Jack Wighton - were given the opportunity of standing down, but declined.

Ricky Stuart learned a very hard lesson back in 1993, when he broke a leg in the final home game of the season. It was a record win for the Raiders over the Eels, and Stuart was given the chance to leave the field early by coach Tim Sheens. Sadly, Stuart stayed on the field for just a bit too long. The Raiders had every chance of taking the premiership that year, but without Stuart, they lost both of the finals matches.

It's a good lesson from history, about risking injuries unnecessarily.

But Storm coach Craig Bellamy also recounted his own lesson from history this week. He's resting a few players, with Melbourne already having wrapped up the minor premiership. But he's not going overboard. Bellamy recalls how in 2011, he rested five players – including Cameron Smith and Billy Slater – but later had regrets.

"We learnt our lesson about 10 years ago when we rested a lot of players at the end of the season," Bellamy said.

"We lost a little bit of momentum. We still won our first final, but back in those days it was first versus eight and we then had the week off and the momentum wasn't there. That was one mistake I made and hopefully I have learnt from it."

The Raiders will know on Saturday whether a win is irrelevant, or not, to their final placing. The other games that could have an impact will have been played. But even if the Raiders have a guaranteed third place, I hope the Raiders don't go overboard with resting more players. Craig Bellamy's lesson is worth keeping in mind.

Based on the announced line ups, I'm still tipping a win for the Green Machine by four.

***

The Raiders' Jersey Flegg and NSW Cup affiliate, Mounties play their Week 1 finals games at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday. It would have been a great opportunity to play both games at Canberra Stadium, but sadly, they will clash with the Raiders match against the Warriors.

The Mounties finished sixth and face the seventh placed Newtown Jets. However, the Mt Pritchard outfit is going to be quite disrupted by the Raiders' decision to rest four, and possibly more, first graders. It'll be tough for them to win in the circumstances.

The Jersey Flegg Raiders grabbed a top four spot with their last round victory over the Dragons, but they have a tough match in prospect against the ladder leading Sharks this week. Hopefully they get the win, but if they are unable, they will at least have a second chance in Week 2.

The Canberra Raiders Cup Grand Final on Sunday sees the Queanbeyan Blues face the Goulburn Bulldogs at Seiffert. If you're in Canberra, make sure you get out to the ground. It'll be a great day of grass roots footy. But if you can't, you can see a live stream of the game - indeed, all this weekend's Grand Finals - thanks to Bar TV Sports on YouTube.



***

Every week I rate the Raiders players on a scale of 0-10... and here are the total points and average points per match after the clash with the Sharks. Let us know if you agree with the ratings... or not!

Total points

Josh Papalii 170
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 163
Jack Wighton 155
Elliott Whitehead 154
Jarrod Croker 151
John Bateman 150
Sia Soliola 150
Josh Hodgson 141
Dunamis Lui 134
Ryan Sutton 121
Siliva Havili 116
Corey Horsburgh 113
Nick Cotric 112
Jordan Rapana 110
Bailey Simonsson 100
Aidan Sezer 88
Joe Tapine 81
Hudson Young 62
Sam Williams 59
Joey Leilua 57
Michael Oldfield 48
Emre Guler 35
Sebastian Kris 15
Tom Starling 15
Jack Murchie 6
JJ Collins 4

Average points per match

John Bateman 7.5
Josh Papalii 7.4
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 7.1
Josh Hodgson 7.1
Jack Wighton 6.7
Elliott Whitehead 6.7
Jarrod Croker 6.6
Sia Soliola 6.5
Ryan Sutton 6.4
Joey Leilua 6.3
Aidan Sezer 6.3
Corey Horsburgh 6.3
Jordan Rapana 6.1
Jack Murchie 6.0
Michael Oldfield 6.0
Sam Williams 5.9
Nick Cotric 5.9
Bailey Simonsson 5.9
Dunamis Lui 5.8
Joe Tapine 5.8
Hudson Young 5.6
Siliva Havili 5.5
Emre Guler 5.0
Sebastian Kris 5.0
Tom Starling 5.0
JJ Collins 4.0

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » September 8, 2019, 11:59 am

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"It was a disappointing way to finish. We've now got to own that performance. We had a football team out there today that was good enough to win that game, but I believe some of our play was... waiting for it to be handed to us. So we've got to own it, learn from it and now we start the next part of our competition.

I'm happy with [the decision to rest players]. I wouldn't change it if I was going into this game again next week, I'd do exactly the same thing. I asked a few other boys if they needed a rest and they said no. Jack and Josh, both Joshes, they decided to play. A couple of other boys wanted to play but I didn't want to risk their injury. And if I was going into this game again this week, I'd make the same decisions, because that team we put out there today was good enough to win.

A big disappointment in how they scored. We had a goal this year to be the No. 1 defensive team in the competition, and we weren't. We haven't achieved that. And I was disappointed with aspects of our play today, and not all just defence. A couple of times we let them off the hook with the football, that's when we carried the ball. So we've still got room to improve. That was a young football team put out there today in a number of positions, and they will definitely learn from that. If I call upon them to go into a semi final, they'll be better off for playing there today and learning from the scenario."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart


Round 25 2019. New Zealand Warriors 24 - Canberra Raiders 20. It was a disappointing way to end the regular season. Going into the match, the Raiders knew that they had secured a top four spot. A win would have delivered a third placed finish and a trip to Sydney for a clash with the Roosters. Instead, the Raiders finished fourth and now head to Melbourne, to meet the minor premiers, the Storm next Saturday evening. We can't be too disappointed. The bottom line is this: if the Raiders are to win their fourth premiership, they will need to beat the Storm or the Roosters - and maybe both - in the finals campaign.



But it was a disappointing game, as the team that Canberra fielded should have beaten the New Zealand Warriors, despite half a dozen regular first graders being rested or on the injury list. The Raiders were in a winning position, leading 20-12 with less than 15 minutes remaining. However Canberra conceded two converted tries in the final stages. Some of the tries conceded were pretty soft. There were too many missed tackles and offloads conceded from the Raiders - too many errors and penalties in key parts of the game.

It is probably best to now simply put that match aside. The younger players might learn something from the game. Hudson Young has some more to learn too. He's a good young bloke, but he's going to be in trouble for the hand across the face of Adam Pompey.

After the match, coach Ricky Stuart said that Young had told him he did not gouge Pompey's eyes - and that seemed to be backed by Pompey's reaction on the field. Pompey reportedly sent Young this message on social media: "Nah your sweet brah, I honestly don't think anything is wrong with that bala, I didn't even feel anything and I didn't know you even poked me in the eye." I think some of the commentary during the match from Brett Finch was an over-reaction, and we'd probably all do well to keep a level head. But I also think that "facials" have no place in the game today - and after Hudson Young had already been suspended this year for a gouge, his hands simply should not have been where they were.



Stats that mattered?

The Warriors finished with a 54 per cent share of possession. Ricky Stuart would not have been happy with his team's completion rate (77 per cent, compared with 82 per cent for the Warriors). He wouldn't have been happy with an effective tackle rate of less than 82 per cent (89 per cent for the Warriors). Nor would he have been happy with 40 missed tackles (Warriors 30) and 28 ineffective tackles (Warriors 12). The Warriors scored what many will say is one of the tries of the year, simply because Canberra did not stop the offloads.

The Warriors made more runs (187-165), running metres (1711-1590), post contact metres (559-536), metres per set (50-45), tackle breaks (40-30) and offloads (20-5). The Raiders were ahead only on kick return metres (192-123) and line breaks (5-4).

The Raiders kicked more (17-14) and made more kicking metres (416-354) - but were perhaps forced to by the running from the Warriors. The Raiders forced two line drop outs (Warriors none). The Raiders made more errors (9-7), with Dunamis Lui (3) and Nick Cotric (3) the main offenders. Penalties conceded were close to level (Warriors 8, Raiders 7).

Memorable moments?

While it was a disappointing game, the Raiders produced some wonderful moments in attack. In the 9th minute, Jack Wighton kicked ahead and it looked for all money like the ball would go dead. But Elliott Whitehead launched himself - and somehow batted the ball back, most of his body suspended in mid air outside the field of play. Sebastian Kris was the beneficiary, grounding the ball in goal. The two Canberra tries scored just before half time, were terrific. First, Josh Papalii made a barnstorming run to score a try. He's again having a brilliant season, and is probably the best prop in the competition. Then Josh Hodgson scored right on half time, feigning to go to the right... and perhaps some Warriors were expecting the Raiders would attempt a field goal. But instead Hodgson darted out of dummy half to the left, and caught everyone by surprise.

Michael Oldfield made a great run for his second half try - and sadly he was injured in the process. Bailey Simonsson also made a great run at one point - and just couldn't quite get to the try line. That situation should have produced points, if only the Raiders had shifted to the left on the next play.

Sadly Canberra scored enough tries and points to win... but the defence just wasn't up to the mark. The result left everyone feeling a little flat. That was always going to be the danger of resting players - that a loss would dent the momentum going into the finals. Hopefully, it has not been dented too much.

Best performers?

Josh Papalii. One try, 21 runs for 205 metres, 78 post contact metres, one line break, seven tackle breaks, two offloads, 27 tackles, 90 per cent tackle efficiency.

Josh Hodgson. One try, six runs for 82 metres, one line break, one line break assist, three tackle breaks, nine dummies, 40 tackles, 91 per cent tackle efficiency, six kicks for 185 kicking metres.

Corey Horsburgh. 15 runs for 127 metres, 60 post contact metres, one tackle break, 34 tackles.

Top tacklers: Hudgson Young 41, Josh Hodgson 40, Corey Horsburgh 34.
Most metres gained: Josh Papalii 205, Bailey Simonsson 170, Emre Guler 142.

My player ratings:

Bailey Simonsson 7
Michael Oldfield 7
Jarrod Croker 5
Nick Cotric 6
Sebastian Kris 6
Jack Wighton 6
Aidan Sezer 6
Josh Papalii 8
Josh Hodgson 8
Dunamis Lui 5
Hudson Young 7
Elliott Whitehead 7
Corey Horsburgh 7

Ryan Sutton 6
Siliva Havili 5
Emre Guler 7
JJ Collins dnp

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by Billy Walker » September 8, 2019, 12:33 pm

I think you’re on the money GE. That’s how I saw it. It’s good news we have room for improvement.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by gangrenous » September 8, 2019, 1:15 pm

Cotric 5
Hodgson 7
Young 4
Lui 3

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by Billy Walker » September 8, 2019, 1:32 pm

gangrenous wrote:
September 8, 2019, 1:15 pm
Cotric 5
Hodgson 7
Young 4
Lui 3
Young topped the tackle count....

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by gangrenous » September 8, 2019, 1:42 pm

Sure but that didn’t pass the eye test for me

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » September 12, 2019, 2:29 pm

Through green eyes: Composure

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Tomorrow, I head to Bleak City. The last time I headed to Melbourne with such anticipation, such excitement, was in 2016.

2016 was Canberra's best season in more than 20 years. 1995 had been the last time the Raiders finished in second position on the ladder and made a Preliminary Final in a full competition. Along the way, the Raiders won 10 matches in a row, the most in club history during a single season. In both 1995 and 2016, the Raiders missed a Grand Final appearance. But in 2016, Canberra was only beaten by two points in each of the finals contests against the eventual Grand Finalists, the Sharks and Storm.

Three years ago, Canberra was number one in the league for points scored, scoring nearly 100 points more than the second placed team - with an average of more than 27 points per match. In fact, no Canberra team had ever scored more points in a season. They were the number one team for tries scored, with 125 or 4.6 tries a match. No other team came close. Canberra topped the league for total line breaks (averaging five per match), tackle breaks (34 per game) and total try assists (3.3 per match). That was despite the fact the Raiders finished 10th for average running metres (1507m per match) and last for kicking metres (414m per match).

It wasn't quite so pretty on the defensive side of the ledger. Canberra ranked in the bottom half of the eight for points conceded in 2016. The Raiders conceded an average of just over 18 points per match, compared with the benchmark of just over 12 points per match set by the Storm.

In 2019, the Canberra Raiders have transformed into a very different team - even though 10 of the 17 players who lined up in the 2016 Preliminary Final in Melbourne will line up on Saturday.

The Raiders have finished in fourth, not quite as good as 2016 - but that's still just the fourth time that's happened since the inauguration of the National Rugby League in 1998.

The Raiders' attack is now much more conservative. They finished the regular season scoring just under 22 points per match, five less than 2016 - and ranking fourth in attack. On average, they've scored 3.7 tries per match, fifth in the league. There is much more emphasis on game management, and calculated, not crazy, risk. There has been much more emphasis on completions, with the Raiders posting a completion rate just under 80 per cent (77 per cent in 2016). The Raiders still aren't up with the top teams for running metres (1604 metres per match), but they sure do kick more (ranking fifth for kicking metres gained, at 557 per match).

That's helped the defence. If you hold the ball more, you don't have to do so much tackling. If you're in the right part of the field, it takes the pressure off. Coach Ricky Stuart says his team's goal was to finish as the No. 1 defensive team this year. They didn't make that, but they finished in the top three, behind the Storm and Roosters. But they have conceded less than 16 points per match - which is the benchmark that premiership contenders aim to achieve.

So while the Raiders might have finished fourth, they are probably in a better position to launch a premiership campaign than they were three years ago.

As the old adage goes, defence wins premierships.

In saying that, I don't want to understate how good the 2016 team was. They improved their defence over the course of the year and showed that they could defend up there with the best. The 2016 team only conceded an average of 14 points per game in the finals series.

But I thought Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker summed up the difference between 2016 and 2019 perfectly this week. He said the team rode on a crest of adrenaline in 2016 - but 2019 feels "composed". Composure. That's just what they'll need when the going gets tough in the weeks to come.

***

The Raiders have played the Storm three times in a finals match - and they are yet to taste victory. In 1998, Ricky Stuart and Brad Clyde played their last match in green against the Storm at Olympic Park in the minor semi final. The Raiders lost 24-10, ending Canberra's finals campaign. The Storm visited Canberra in 2003, inflicting a 30-18 defeat on the Raiders in the qualifying final. Cameron Smith is the only player from that match surviving in either team. And in 2016, the Storm beat the Raiders in the 2016 preliminary final, 14-12.

It's going to be a very tough game on Saturday. The Storm has had a home final in Week 1 in 12 of the past 13 years - and have won nine of the 12 games. The Raiders have the recipe to beat the Storm - they've just done it in Melbourne. But the Raiders have only beaten the Storm twice in a season once - back in 2000. They've only lost back-to-back against the Raiders twice. The last time that happened was back in back in 2012-13. I've tipped a narrow Storm win. But, I'm desperately hoping that the Green Machine can start to turn those records around!

***

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Prior to the 2016 Preliminary Final, The Greenhouse staged a Finals Fan Meet-up at the Richmond Club Hotel. The Rooftop Bar was reserved... and the hotel promised to have a single barman on duty... and said that if we didn't get much of a turnout they would open the rooftop to the general public. Well the Raiders fans took over all three floors of the hotel and the beer garden, and Raiders fans queued down the street trying to get in. Eventually, they took over all the adjoining pubs and bars. Swan Street, Richmond was a sea of green. The TV cameras turned up, and there was many a Viking Clap, Raiders chant, and rendition of the club song. I had never experienced anything like it at an away game in all my years of supporting the Raiders... and that goes back to 1982.

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Thanks to Kenrick Winchester, the Richmond Club Hotel, 100 Swan Street, Richmond, will again be the venue for our Finals Fan Meet-up on Saturday. The Rooftop Bar is reserved for Raiders fans from 11am... but we'd love to again take over the hotel! Come for lunch and have some refreshments before the game. The hotel is just 10 minutes walk from the stadium. Tell us you're coming at our Facebook Event!

***

Every week I rate the Raiders players on a scale of 0-10... and here are the total points and average points per match after the clash with the Warriors. Let us know if you agree with the ratings... or not!

Total points

Josh Papalii 178
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 163
Elliott Whitehead 161
Jack Wighton 161
Jarrod Croker 156
John Bateman 150
Sia Soliola 150
Josh Hodgson 149
Dunamis Lui 139
Ryan Sutton 127
Siliva Havili 121
Corey Horsburgh 120
Nick Cotric 118
Jordan Rapana 110
Bailey Simonsson 107
Aidan Sezer 94
Joe Tapine 81
Hudson Young 69
Sam Williams 59
Joey Leilua 57
Michael Oldfield 55
Emre Guler 42
Sebastian Kris 21
Tom Starling 15
Jack Murchie 6
JJ Collins 4

Average points per match

John Bateman 7.5
Josh Papalii 7.4
Josh Hodgson 7.1
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 7.1
Elliott Whitehead 6.7
Jack Wighton 6.7
Sia Soliola 6.5
Jarrod Croker 6.5
Ryan Sutton 6.4
Joey Leilua 6.3
Corey Horsburgh 6.3
Aidan Sezer 6.3
Jordan Rapana 6.1
Michael Oldfield 6.1
Jack Murchie 6.0
Bailey Simonsson 5.9
Nick Cotric 5.9
Sam Williams 5.9
Dunamis Lui 5.8
Joe Tapine 5.8
Hudson Young 5.8
Siliva Havili 5.5
Emre Guler 5.3
Sebastian Kris 5.3
Tom Starling 5.0
JJ Collins 4.0

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » September 15, 2019, 7:02 am

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"We speak about composure and practice composure a hell of a lot. You can only have composure if you have belief. It just doesn't happen overnight. Composure comes with belief. You can't have composure if you're showing poor emotions and panicking. It's something that has helped us through a number of tight games like that. The work we've put into it has actually helped us win those tight games.

"I wouldn't say we've got their measure [the Storm]. I've got better players than I've had. I don't say that disrespectfully to all the other boys that have played in the green jumper. But I think we've got a really talented football squad here now and that really helps. If you're playing against talent then you need talent – it doesn't matter what game plan or what strategies you've got. If you haven't got talent it makes it so much harder. I've been on the receiving end with a lack of talent for years and years and been told I can't coach. It's just nice to have some talent now."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart


Finals Week 1 2019. Canberra Raiders 12 - Melbourne Storm 10. A second extraordinary win for the Canberra Raiders against the Storm in Melbourne in the space of five weeks. The Raiders had never beaten the Storm in a finals match. They had not won back-to-back against the Storm since 2012-13. They had only beaten the Storm twice in a season, once - back in 2000. The Raiders led early, and led at half time. Of course, the Storm wrestled their way back into the match in the second half - a try and penalty goals giving them a 10-6 lead. But with just a few minutes left on the clock, a Joe Tapine tackle forced a Storm error on their own line - and then Joey Leilua and John Bateman silenced the Melbourne crowd and that bloody cow bell. The conversion for Jarrod Croker from in front sealed it.



The two point victory reversed the two point loss suffered by the Raiders in the Preliminary Final in Melbourne in 2016. It delivered a Preliminary Final for the Green Machine in the nation's capital - something that has never happened before. It shapes as Canberra's biggest ever sporting event, a likely record breaking crowd at Canberra Stadium. Suddenly, the Raiders are just two wins away from a long awaited premiership. Thirty years since their first, 25 years since their last. The Raiders certainly have a genuine shot.

There was high drama before the game even kicked off. A fireworks display which greeted the players as they ran onto the field resulted in an eye problem for Canberra centre Joey Leilua. A piece of ash had lodged in his eye and he could not take the field. Bailey Simonsson had an unexpected start - and he produced an unexpectedly early try for Canberra. Simonsson suffered an injury in scoring the try, but somehow managed to play on. But that was not the end of the injury hurdles for the Green Machine. Nick Cotric copped a stray boot to the face only 20 minutes into the game. The blood flowed and he was ruled out of the game after a head injury assessment. The Raiders had to battle on, a man short.

Canberra's defence in the first half was absolutely brutal. They battered the Storm, putting them off their rhythm. In the second half, the defence from the Raiders was simply desperate. The Storm had many opportunities in the second half, but Canberra did whatever it took to stop Melbourne from scoring. They held the Storm to just one try, and that was the result of a kick. The Raiders just out-Stormed the Storm. And finally, the pressure turned into points for the Green Machine, right at the back end of the game. After years of suffering close losses, Canberra coach Ricky Stuart was justifiably happy with the composure, the resilience, and the victory in a tight game.

One worry is that Jordan Rapana (dangerous tackle) and Joe Tapine (a so-called "chicken wing") were both put on report in the match. Personally, I did not think that there was much in the Rapana tackle. The Tapine incident led to the first of the Storm's three penalty goals - but it was more that the players in the tackle got themselves into an awkward position. It looked worse because another Raiders player fell on top of Tapine. Hopefully, the incidents don't result in citings from the match review committee. We will know soon enough.



Stats that mattered?

The two teams finished with an even share of possession, with both completing at just under 80 per cent (Storm 79, Raiders 78). The Raiders made eight errors, the Storm nine, while Canberra conceded more penalties (12-9). Canberra had a couple of more completed sets - and made more runs (17-14), running metres (1404-1357), offloads (4-1), tackle breaks (28-26) and line breaks (3-1). However, the Storm made more kick return metres (192-161), post contact metres (398-387) and metres per set (40-38). Melbourne were just ahead in kicking metres (503-477), taking one more kick (18-17).

The effective tackle rate for both teams was very high (91.5 per cent for the Raiders, 90.2 per cent for the Storm). The Raiders produced one, solitary ineffective tackle (Storm six) and 26 missed tackles (Storm 28).

That is the definition of a tight contest.

The only team statistic that might have seriously troubled coach Ricky Stuart was his team's kick defusal rate - just 33 per cent, compared with 86 per cent for the Storm.

Memorable moments?

It was a match of high drama, but there is one memorable moment that stands head and shoulders above all others. The winning try to John Bateman. After Joe Tapine dislodged the ball in a tackle, Joey Leilua regathered, ran cross field and offloaded with a great flick pass to Bateman running a perfect line back inside. It was the most memorable moment of the season so far.

Best performers?

John Bateman. One try, 13 runs for 135 metres, 33 post contact metres, one line break, seven tackle breaks, one offload, 37 tackles, 97 per cent tackle efficiency.

Josh Papalii. 15 runs for 163 metres, 53 post contact metres, two tackle breaks, 23 tackles, 92 per cent tackle efficiency.

Jack Wighton. 10 runs for 103 metres, 25 post contact metres, one line break assist, one try assist, one tackle break, 16 tackles, 7 kicks for 202 metres.

Aidan Sezer. Six runs for 37 metres, 17 tackles, seven kicks for 174 metres, two forced line drop outs. A clever kicking game, which kept the Storm guessing.

Top tacklers: Josh Hodgson 38, John Bateman 37, Joe Tapine 35.
Most metres gained: Bailey Simonsson 182, Josh Papalii 163, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 141.

My player ratings:

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 6
Nick Cotric 5
Jarrod Croker 6
Bailey Simonsson 7
Jordan Rapana 6
Jack Wighton 7
Aidan Sezer 7
Dunamis Lui 5
Josh Hodgson 7
Sia Soliola 5
John Bateman 8
Elliott Whitehead 7
Joe Tapine 7

Joey Leilua 6
Josh Papalii 8
Corey Horsburgh 7
Emre Guler 5

Do you agree or disagree with the ratings? Let us know!

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LastRaider
Brett Mullins
Posts: 1469
Joined: March 31, 2018, 9:30 pm

Through green eyes 2019

Post by LastRaider » September 15, 2019, 12:42 pm

God your bias to Croker GE, I see you even have him rated as a better player then Bateman and Hodgson this year as our 5th best

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The Rickman
Mal Meninga
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Joined: June 25, 2012, 9:53 am
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Location: Rockhampton, Central Queensland

Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by The Rickman » September 15, 2019, 12:55 pm

Gee there’s some low scores across the board there, did we really play that bad as a team?

Would love to see the team’s average score per game summarised somewhere, Matt.
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gangrenous
Ricky Stuart
Posts: 9842
Joined: May 12, 2007, 10:42 pm

Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by gangrenous » September 15, 2019, 1:30 pm

LastRaider wrote:God your bias to Croker GE, I see you even have him rated as a better player then Bateman and Hodgson this year as our 5th best
Think you’ll find you’re looking at the total points, which is impacted by number of games played.

GE has both above Croker on a points per game basis.

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BadnMean
John Ferguson
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by BadnMean » September 15, 2019, 6:14 pm

You can't have Joey on the same points as Rapana and Croker. You just can't. 20 minutes here or there doesn't matter. He broke the game and Storm are a tough nut to crack.

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