Are we premiership contenders?

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Mickey_Raider
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Are we premiership contenders?

Post by Mickey_Raider » June 15, 2019, 2:40 pm

So we are very close to 2/3 of the way through the season. I thought now with only one game over the next month it might be a good time to take proper stock of where we are and what we are as a team.

Are we genuine contenders to win the comp this year?

The common refrain about us this year is that we are a notch below the true elite. I'm not so sure about that.

Firstly, we really need to get our full team back on the park. In particular, we need Hodgson back there before we can really judge where we are at. Fingers crossed we not only start hitting top form but our injury luck turns around as well and we are fit and firing for the finals.

Secondly, I think I have seen enough from games against the likes of Souths and Cronulla to make me think that there is no reason we can't go to to toe with their ilk in September. We certainly aren't perfect at this point in time and our attack can still be very clunky. But I think that with a 5-10% improvement, which we are very capable of; and we are right there.

Thirdly, we are amassing enough points to position ourselves nicely, with very winnable games against Eels, Dragons, Tigers, Panthers and Warriors coming up.

In summary I believe that even if we are currently a notch or a half notch below the likes of Storm, Roosters and Souths, I think with our full complement back and some small improvement over the last 10 games there is no reason we can't be optimistic about being relevant in September this year.

Thoughts?
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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by BJ » June 15, 2019, 2:53 pm

I agree with the experts that we are a notch below the top 3 teams. I think we will miss BJ’s X factor in the big finals.

I still give us a chance, but we will have to improve in a few areas. 1 in 12 chance of winning the title.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by edwahu » June 15, 2019, 2:56 pm

nah

But stranger things have happened.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by -TW- » June 15, 2019, 3:08 pm

The last 5 games will tell us where we sit

But right now.. no

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Are we premiership contenders?

Post by Fuifui Bradbrad » June 15, 2019, 3:15 pm

I think we’re in a spot to not embarrass ourselves come finals time, but we’re not contenders.

We’ll need a W against the Storm, Roosters or Souths for me to change my mind
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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by Seiffert82 » June 15, 2019, 3:59 pm

Any team with our record should really be regarded as a contender.

It's an interesting question though. I'm sure most people would say we haven't reached our potential, particularly in attack. So we have been quite solid without being quite there with the best form in the comp. Injuries to key players hasn't helped.

Form suggests we are exactly where we should be. We are generally beating clubs below us and losing to the handful above us. We should really have beaten Souths, but should also have nailed Manly and the Cows.

It's only the Storm who have towelled us up, but that was after a short turnaround and they are a well drilled team. IMO only Cronulla have picked us apart for a good chunk of a game. The Roosters was a disappointing performance, but they don't scare me as much as Cronulla.

We'll be OK if our attack starts clicking. I think we become genuine contenders if Hodgo gets his combo right with the halves in our attacking 20. That's the one part of the game which is really letting us down compared to the top 3-4 teams.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by dubby » June 15, 2019, 4:04 pm

Not yet. We're still developing.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by RedRaider » June 15, 2019, 4:26 pm

I think we are contenders this year. We still let in some soft tries but they are less frequent. Hopefully the focus remains on further defensive improvement against the better sides.
Sure our attack 'needs work' but it is shutting down and frustrating the better sides which are the keys to success imo. I hope Sticky keeps the focus firmly on our D.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by gangrenous » June 15, 2019, 4:28 pm

Yep were premiership contenders.

We have a record that puts us a good shot at top 4. From there anything can happen for finals.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by I'm Bate Man » June 15, 2019, 4:31 pm


I think we’re close but not quite there yet, I really don’t think we’ve actually ‘clicked’ in any games this year. If we can we can beat anyone, but I’m not sure we can just yet with our halfback issues.
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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by Old School Green » June 15, 2019, 4:37 pm

BJ wrote:
June 15, 2019, 2:53 pm
I agree with the experts that we are a notch below the top 3 teams. I think we will miss BJ’s X factor in the big finals.

I still give us a chance, but we will have to improve in a few areas. 1 in 12 chance of winning the title.
I agree with this. We are good this year but missing X factor. BJ is our X factor and without him I think we struggle to consistently beat top tier teams at the business end.
Anyone heard anything on his recovery??
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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by -PJ- » June 15, 2019, 5:15 pm

Sitting 3rd after 14 weeks !!!!'

Strap yourselves in Raiders fans, grab the popcorn..

Yeah sure we haven't beat the Rabbits/Storm/Rooters but finals time..different ball game !
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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by -PJ- » June 15, 2019, 5:16 pm

Old School Green wrote:
June 15, 2019, 4:37 pm
BJ wrote:
June 15, 2019, 2:53 pm
I agree with the experts that we are a notch below the top 3 teams. I think we will miss BJ’s X factor in the big finals.

I still give us a chance, but we will have to improve in a few areas. 1 in 12 chance of winning the title.
I agree with this. We are good this year but missing X factor. BJ is our X factor and without him I think we struggle to consistently beat top tier teams at the business end.
Anyone heard anything on his recovery??
No.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by Coastalraider » June 15, 2019, 5:19 pm

Every injured raiders player in the last few years has come back early. It must be magic water at the AIS.

I still have this sneaking thought in the back of my head that the Raiders media team went 100% at the ‘out for the season’ line, shutting down any chance of playing this year, while secretly they are rehab-ing BJ to be ready just before finals.

It would in no way surprise me anymore if he was an ‘out of the blue’ team list Tuesday inclusion late September.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by kona_dream » June 15, 2019, 5:31 pm

I think with a little luck we are contenders. Our injuries need to stop, if we really aren’t missing any players come the big games I think we “could” beat anyone on the day. We only need to play to potential and the other team be off just slightly due to injury or otherwise and we could do it. A well as Melbourne’s results show on the ladder I just don’t think they are going as well as the ladder suggests.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by BadnMean » June 15, 2019, 5:45 pm

If the finals were played this weekend- no.

But the finals are 10 weeks or so away...

Depth
So far we have developed true depth across the park. Reliable depth that has been tested and won some tough games. That's needed to be a contender. We have it in spades.

Character
So far we have developed some character. You need to strength of mind to over-come some iffy calls, some injuries, carry some expectations, trust a game plan, win close games, hang tough and compete in games where it seems hopeless. We're shown some, but it's a work in progress.

The critical mass between derps and passengers and thinkers and winners has shifted too.

Match winners
You need some talent and x-factor. We have enough - just maybe - even with Joey out. With Joey in - we are a whole new level of threat. Let's assume no Joey, we need a few things in our favour for this one. We need Hodgo on the park, Rapana near his best and Cotric to keep growing into an Origin level player.

Assuming that, we have more than enough strike across the park. Our three quarter line is still among the most dangerous in the comp. Our fullback has a good try scoring record and can bust a tackle. Our back rowers are all genuine attacking threats beyond just running a line - ours can genuinely pass, kick, create. If we assume Tapine is our lock then he might not have all those skills but he can palm, step and beat a tackle.

Jack will be involved in winning or losing any big finals game we play. He won't go missing or die wondering. Before this season I'd have said he's more likely to lose us one than win us one. That paradigm is shifting. He's our genuine x factor now and makes up for the creativity our other halves lack. I'd almost include Johnny B here too - he's the type to pop up a try scoring play in a big game.

Ideally looking at our team you'd like to see one tearaway destructive prop. We've got Papa, but no-one else to really be feared. Also a half who can ice a game and control the tempo for 15 minutes if you have a lead... nope. That'll be on Jack and Hodgo.

Defence
We have developed our defence to the point it can be used as a weapon and is near the top bracket. It's not yet been as good vs the very best but it's been ok. We hit hard. We hurt blokes. Teams must feel it now the week after they've played us. We scramble. We defend our errors. It's good. It's getting there. Considering all the positional disruptions... not bad at all.

Belief/culture
Winning culture? A work in progress. Not yet, but closing in. We have beaten one top team (Sharks) and been within a bees of another in Souths.

Like others have said, we'll need to see how we fare in that tough run home but I'm not ruling this year out at all as a "building season" or "will set us up for next year". Next year can all turn to shizzle real quick. When it's happening for you, squeeze every drop and make it count. Half our teams has been "that close" to a GF, we've added a winner in JB and improved our big match experience with some origin reps. We still lag other teams here so we'll need momentum and trust Ricky to get their heads right. He's been there and won and lost a few as player and as coach.

Are we?
If we continue to develop we can have a real shot here. You're kidding if you think you can guarantee coming within even cooee of that any other theoretical "next year", despite improvements on paper squads and more time to gel blah blah. Stuff that, if you can sit yourself near that top four with the injury toll we've had and the chance (fingers crossed) our new Origin guys get a 5 per cent boost from getting a decent run of games and that higher level... Then we should be a chance to win this. Not favourites, but we'll worry any team and could genuinely pull it off.

Let's see how that last five weeks go. Beat two of the better teams in that run before Warriors and we are the real deal.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by -PJ- » June 15, 2019, 5:53 pm

So..that's a yes ?
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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by yeh raiders » June 15, 2019, 6:03 pm

When it comes to the crunch I think we’ll fall short. We’ve bought a new halfback to upgrade a key position next year and we’ll have BJ back then. I think we’ll be closer in 2020, but as for this season ... no

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by Mickey_Raider » June 15, 2019, 6:06 pm

Whether or not you answer in the affirmative as to whether we are genuine contenders, a dark horse, a pretender or what have you; one thing I firmly buy into is that when you have that opportunity of being in the top 4 and right amongst it come September, whatever the character of your team or that of your fellow contenders; you need to accept the reality that it may not be a part of some linear progression of the team or a stepping stone to being exponentially better next year.

If it were to be so; we would have logically made the GF at least in 2017 and won the premiership in either 2017-2018. Instead; we regressed.

There are simply too many variables and 15 other teams in their own stages of improvement, growth, stagnation or deterioration to treat each finals opportunity as anything other than a "this is our shot at it" moment. Especially when success has been as scarce as it has been for the raiders over the last 25 years.
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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by Azza » June 15, 2019, 6:07 pm

-PJ- wrote:
June 15, 2019, 5:53 pm
So..that's a yes ?
No. I hope this helps.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by gangrenous » June 15, 2019, 6:07 pm

I disagree on caring how we go in the run to the finals. As long as we can find a top four spot those games don’t count.

Remember 2016? We beat Sharks and Melbourne going into finals marking ourselves as contenders and lost to both. I’m certainly not saying I’d prefer to lose them, but if the team does enough to get a top 4 spot they’ll be remembered for their finals results. Not whether they were considered contenders by performing strongly going into the finals. That’s not where you’re aiming to peak your performance.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

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

-PJ- wrote:
June 15, 2019, 5:53 pm
So..that's a yes ?
tl:dr

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by BadnMean » June 15, 2019, 6:17 pm

gangrenous wrote:
June 15, 2019, 6:07 pm
I disagree on caring how we go in the run to the finals. As long as we can find a top four spot those games don’t count.

Remember 2016? We beat Sharks and Melbourne going into finals marking ourselves as contenders and lost to both. I’m certainly not saying I’d prefer to lose them, but if the team does enough to get a top 4 spot they’ll be remembered for their finals results. Not whether they were considered contenders by performing strongly going into the finals. That’s not where you’re aiming to peak your performance.
I was working on the idea that since those teams we play will all also be in for competition for those top 4 spots... that if we lose to ALL of them and don't beat SOME of them, we won't make the top 4 regardless, even if we beat the numpties.

But I'm no mathemegician.
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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by afgtnk » June 15, 2019, 6:18 pm

Heart says no, not yet. Need CNK to improve his ability with the ball in hand and a new halfback in order to be genuine contenders, IMO.

Fortunately, that isn't a pipe dream and if we can carry on defending the way we are as a unit then a premiership isn't out of reach next year.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by BadnMean » June 15, 2019, 6:19 pm

afgtnk wrote:
June 15, 2019, 6:18 pm
Heart says no, not yet. Need CNK to improve his ball playing and a new halfback in order to be genuine contenders, IMO.

Fortunately, that isn't a pipe dream and if we can carry on defending the way we are as a unit then a premiership isn't out of reach next year.
2 genuine ball playing back rowers was the reason I could just about overcome CNK's sticky fingers on backline moves at present.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by kona_dream » June 15, 2019, 6:43 pm

I am just glad I took top 4 insurance this year. I am certainly expecting to be travelling to a few finals games.

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Are we premiership contenders?

Post by gangrenous » June 15, 2019, 6:44 pm

I think people saying we can’t win because CNK this, or halfback that are being overly critical of what it takes to win a premiership.

You just need to be better than the other team on the day. Sometimes not even that. You don’t have to be perfect. Yes better players, more experienced players increase your likelihood. But saying a team can’t win is a big call.

Also agree with above that thinking you’ll be back and better next year in the NRL is a terrible mindset and approach.

I think most people believed we were contenders in 2016 when we had the same halfback, and our fullback had a number of defensive deficiencies that CNK does not. People are always talking about how defence wins grand finals, so that’s arguably more important. CNK also supports better imo.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by Swiller » June 15, 2019, 6:59 pm

:roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao :roflmao

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by PigRickman » June 15, 2019, 7:00 pm

It's a really good question and a tough one to answer... my answer is yes.

Yes we are a contender in so much that we're a top 4 team, with a very stout defence, and we keep games close enough generally speaking that on any given day, if we perform to our best, we can cause an upset and knock off the storm/roosters/souths whoever they throw at us.

But i do think they're all a little notch above us in terms of the their consistency and quality of play across the board. I think we're lacking a little in structured creativeness to consistently beat the top sides, but on our day we'll beat their ****. CNK as (at this very early stage of his career) and the lack of creativity out of the halves is what i think will ultimately be our downfall this year.

We'll go in as underdogs in any game past the semi's and maybe even in the semi's, and i think that'll be largely fair. But this team keeps things close enough that if we're good on the day, we can do it... can we have two days where we beat say the storm in the prelims and then back up and get the roosters in the big one? I dont know, i feel like we might need some luck on that front, maybe a key injury, or the footy gods shining down on us with a good bounce of the ball...

We're a darkhorse contender. But that's still a contender. I just the NBA finals and the Raptors (who got an outrageous game 7 4 bounce bank shot after the buzzer to even get past round 2!) won the whole thing by beating the all star warriors team that lost literally half it's line up to major injuries through the series... and no one in Toronto gives a single ****. Sometimes being good enough to be there gives you the opportunity to take advantage of good fortune. I think we're good enough that we're some good fortune away from a fairytale
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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by PigRickman » June 15, 2019, 7:06 pm

Mickey_Raider wrote:
June 15, 2019, 6:06 pm
Whether or not you answer in the affirmative as to whether we are genuine contenders, a dark horse, a pretender or what have you; one thing I firmly buy into is that when you have that opportunity of being in the top 4 and right amongst it come September, whatever the character of your team or that of your fellow contenders; you need to accept the reality that it may not be a part of some linear progression of the team or a stepping stone to being exponentially better next year.

If it were to be so; we would have logically made the GF at least in 2017 and won the premiership in either 2017-2018. Instead; we regressed.

There are simply too many variables and 15 other teams in their own stages of improvement, growth, stagnation or deterioration to treat each finals opportunity as anything other than a "this is our shot at it" moment. Especially when success has been as scarce as it has been for the raiders over the last 25 years.
yep, this is true across all sports.
Fans expect progress to be linear, and i myself am guilty of it you, you just expect teams to take incremental steps towards a championship, but it almost NEVER works out that way. You have to take your shot when it comes because there is absolutely no telling what tomorrow brings.

You can do it all the right way and build the way you want and then some crushing injury or some emergence of a transcendent talent, or a bounce of the ball here and there just cruelly closes your window. We cant just assume we're a team on the up and a top 4 birth this year will be bettered next year with more development. If we're in the top 4 this year, we got a shot. It might not be a great shot and we might not be a favourite, but any team in the top 4 has an Andy Ruiz Jr's level punchers chance. Our margin for error might be considerably smaller than others, but i firmly believe we can beat anyone on our day.
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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by T_R » June 15, 2019, 7:13 pm

No, but there wouldn't have to be many things go our way for that to become a yes.
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Are we premiership contenders?

Post by LastRaider » June 15, 2019, 7:22 pm

No to this year, but I’m getting excited about next year 2020. I’m just looking for a strong finish now at the end of the year to build momentum for next year when we have Williams on board. I’m hoping we can pick up another front rower (TPJ would be nice) too then I’ll be very happy


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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by gangrenous » June 15, 2019, 7:53 pm

I think you’re dreaming of recruiting upwards if we continue to round out a decent season. In 2017 the core got upgrades to hold them together and we lost our depth.

The Raiders do not have infinite salary cap. A strong season will not see us progress by recruiting a big name next year. It would have to be an adept CNK/Bateman signing.

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by Cranky Old Man » June 15, 2019, 7:56 pm

T_R wrote:
June 15, 2019, 7:13 pm
No, but there wouldn't have to be many things go our way for that to become a yes.
I agree

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Re: Are we premiership contenders?

Post by Northern Raider » June 15, 2019, 7:59 pm

I think there's too big a gap to teams like Roosters and Storm for us to be contenders. That said if you're in it you can win it. If we can remain in the top 4 come September then we at least have a shot.
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