Through green eyes 2021

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

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"There's always effort there. That first half showed we've certainly got the ability to play. There were some parts of our game where we worked our bums off to try and get out of our end - and then we got to a poor field position to kick. And then all of a sudden we were kicking into their forty and they were back on the roll again and getting some momentum into our half, attacking us again.

I’d like to look at where we started every six [in the second half]. It just seemed like we just kept coming out our end of the field all that second half. We started to lack a bit of energy because of the amount of defence we had to do, and you fall out of shape in your attack, and we lost our way. Compared to the first half, where we had good shapes, and I thought we attacked very well, and it was a completely different tale in the second half.

We made a couple of errors early in both halves. You give them field position and they didn't relinquish it in the second half. They kept the momentum and kept the field position on us and kept making it really hard for us to get out. Once we started making some sets on sets in defence then all of a sudden we lost our shape and lost our ability to play.

Certainly there were some tries there we should have defended. There was two or three there, in all respect to the Cowboys, that I believe we’d defend every week. But tonight they got through. We kept coming out of our 20-30 metre zone and they squeezed the life out of us. They did a good job.

I think we had three dropped balls that led to tries. We’ve got to be tough enough to defend those types of scenarios. Going in with that lead, 24-12. It could have been 24-6. I thought it was a try we could have defended. We defended the first five tackles really well and the kick got through and they got a good bounce and scored. That's the passage of footy we're in at this stage. It's happening quite a bit at the moment.

We just need to keep working hard and sticking together. We’ve been in this position before. We’ve just got to stick solid and try and work our way out of it. I thought our first half was good but you’ve got to look at the big picture, don’t you, when you lose like that."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart


2021 Round 7. North Queensland Cowboys 26 - Canberra Raiders 24. Three weeks is not a long time in football. It is an absolute age. Three weeks ago, Cowboys coach Todd Payten was under intense pressure, after starting the season with a month of losses. Three weeks later, Payten is sleeping like a baby.



Now it is the Raiders that are under intense pressure. Back to back to back losses for the Green Machine. The manner of the loss... well it was, and is, simply very hard to take. The Raiders led 24-6 with three minutes to half time. Eighteen points. The Cowboys then scored an unanswered 20 points, keeping the Raiders scoreless for the rest of the game. This was not a loss to a premiership contender. This was a loss to a team that is expected to finish well down the ladder. Everyone had been put on notice last week, with players dropped. However, the team as a whole did not respond.

The faces in the Raiders dressing room after the game said it all. It was uncomfortable to watch. Sad to see players and coaches with heads bowed, their hands over their faces, their eyes rolling. It broke my heart. The season is in serious trouble. And the uncomfortable sense we're left with is that the game has left the Raiders behind. The style of play that worked so well in 2019 no longer suits a much faster game. Some of the veteran players, it seems, are being left behind. Repeatedly now, the Raiders appear to have run out of gas by the time the second half rolls around. It is going to be tough for the Raiders to work their way out of this.

I outlined a range of problems that the Raiders have, after the loss to the Eels. They mostly still have those problems. Losing the battle for territory is the biggest problem. That's been produced by a combination of poor kicking and the pack not matching the opposition. Not enough hard metres gained, too many conceded. The Raiders actually started pretty well in the territorial battle, but it did not last. As the game wore on, they were too often stuck in their own half, fighting to get off their own line. The Raiders kept putting themselves under pressure through their own errors - and gifted try scoring opportunities to the Cowboys.

The injection of Starling at hooker certainly added speed around the rucks and Starling was the best of the spine players. He was instrumental in some of the tries, but he was also pulled up for two forward passes, and was tested in defence. He played 72 minutes and that was too long. Last year showed that he played best when brought on after 20 minutes, with Siliva Havili absorbing some of the early pressure. Last night, Havili was brought on late, and he didn't have the spark the Raiders needed when they were searching for a winning try. He should have started the game. The halves received better quality ball, but they did not take control.

Ricky Stuart took the right approach with his comments after the match. There were some positives in the first half, and that's what the Raiders have to work with, to move forward. Things felt very grim last night - and the prospect of meeting the Rabbitohs next Thursday night, after a five day turnaround, is not an attractive one. But there is no choice but to now focus on what needs to be done to arrest the slump.

Team changes are not going to fix the array of problems that the Raiders have - though more changes are probably needed. In some cases, however, there are not first grade ready replacements available.

Stats that mattered?

The match statistics were not a wasteland for the Raiders. Canberra had almost 60 per cent of possession and territory in the first half. They certainly should have led by more than 12 at the break. Things turned in favour of the Cowboys in the second half, but the Raiders still ended the game with a 51 per cent possession share - and just over 50 per cent of the territory.

The Raiders made more runs (185-167), running metres (1655-1535), kick return metres (206-180), offloads (9-1), line breaks (4-3) and tackle breaks (34-28). The Raiders definitely aimed to throw the ball around more this week (223-178 passes) - and produced a whole lot more dummies (21-1). However, the Cowboys made more post contact metres (684-676) and metres per set (43-39). The Cowboys kicked a lot more (27-17) and produced a lot more kicking metres (797-428). North Queensland also forced two line drop outs, the Raiders one. The Raiders' kick defusal rate was less than 40 per cent, the Cowboys 100 per cent.

The error count was the Raiders' downfall. Canberra only conceded two penalties (Cowboys five) and two set restarts (Cowboys four). But they made 13 errors, some crucial, compared with eight for North Queensland. The Raiders completed at just 69 per cent (Cowboys 89 per cent).

The Raiders made more tackles (368-359) - but missed fewer tackles (28-34) and barely posted an ineffective tackle (1-13). That translated into an effective tackle rate of 93 per cent for Canberra, compared with 88 per cent for North Queensland. However the Raiders conceded as many tries as they scored.

Memorable moments?

We saw some good tries for the Raiders. Jordan Rapana got a double, set up by good cut out passes, first from Elliott Whitehead and then from Jack Wighton. The best try came in the 37th minute, with Tom Starling making a huge run down the middle - off the back of a Horsburgh offload - setting George Williams on the way to the try line.

Unfortunately, there were memorable moments for all the wrong reasons. Corey Harawira-Naera knocked on, first touch. Emre Guler made a mess of a play the ball, an error that led to the first Cowboys try to Kyle Feldt. George Williams followed up his try by knocking on the ensuing kick off. The try to Ben Condon quickly followed. Late in the game, with the Raiders desperate to get out of their own half, Jarrod Croker was smashed in a tackle, losing the ball. The match finished with Elliott Whitehead throwing a pass over the sideline. It was that sort of game for the Raiders.

I haven't mentioned the Cowboys try to Justin O'Neill near the 60th minute, which levelled the scores. He looked off side when the ball was kicked ahead, with the naked eye. But I fully understand why the bunker did not intervene. There probably wasn't enough evidence to categorically say he was offside, on the replay. Officiating was definitely not the reason the Raiders lost last night.

Best performers?

Tom Starling. Five runs for 65 metres, 18 post contact metres, one line break, one line break assist, two try assists, two tackle breaks, 47 tackles. Two errors and four missed tackles were the blots on the copy book.

Jordan Rapana. Two tries, 21 runs for 206 running metres, 64 kick return metres, two line breaks, eight tackle breaks.

Ryan Sutton. 13 runs for 108 running metres, 47 post contact metres, one tackle break, 41 tackles, 95 per cent tackle efficiency.

Top tacklers: Tom Starling 47, Ryan Sutton 41, Emre Guler 38
Most metres gained: Caleb Aekins 219, Jordan Rapana 206, Curtis Scott 130

My player ratings:

Caleb Aekins 6
Sebastian Kris 5
Jarrod Croker 4
Curtis Scott 6
Jordan Rapana 7
Jack Wighton 6
George Williams 5
Ryan James 5
Tom Starling 7
Emre Guler 5
Corey Harawira-Naera 6
Elliott Whitehead 5
Ryan Sutton 7

Hudson Young 5
Siliva Havili 1*
Corey Horsburgh 6
Josh Papalii 6

* Played very limited minutes.

Do you agree with the ratings? Let us know what you think!

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gangrenous
Laurie Daley
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Through green eyes 2021

Post by gangrenous »

I don’t think Aekins, Scott, Wighton or Papalii justified a 6 based on what I saw last night. Didn’t really notice Hors either.

It’s definitely time for Croker to be dropped but I think it’s rough to say he was smashed in the tackle losing the ball. He lost the ball (I’d have to look again but I think the pass was low and behind him) and that was a big part of why he got smashed.
LastRaider
John Ferguson
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by LastRaider »

It’s time to put sticky on notice. Our attack plain and simply has not improved in the last 2 years.


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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Through green eyes 2021

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: It's all just a little bit of history repeating

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The word is about, there's something evolving,
Whatever may come, the world keeps revolving,
They say the next big thing is here,
That the revolution's near,
But to me it seems quite clear
That's it's all just a little bit of history repeating.


The Canberra Raiders SG Ball team qualified for the 2021 Grand Final on Saturday - winning an epic finals clash with the Manly Sea Eagles at historic Leichhardt Oval.

They will now return to Leichhardt on Saturday for the premiership decider. A clash with the Illawarra Steelers.

The Raiders have won the SG Ball title twice before. As in the NRL, winning an SG Ball Grand Final is a difficult thing to do.

The Raiders first did it back in 1995. It was a time of great uncertainty, with the ARL versus Super League "war" raging. Just what that meant for junior football was very unclear. But the Raiders' SG Ball team that year was very clear in its intent. They were minor premiers and went through the season undefeated in 15 matches.

It was then an under 17s outfit, coached by Mark Greer, and they could score a try. They posted 459 points, while conceding just 159.

The Raiders faced the Penrith Panthers in the Grand Final, at Kogarah Jubilee Oval. Canberra had beaten the Panthers early in the season - 24-8 at Seiffert - but the Panthers had improved over the course of the year. Their team included two junior New South Wales representatives - half Craig Gower and prop Lee Hopkins.

But the Raiders had their own Blues - captain Matthew Kearns and fellow back rower, David Atkins. And a couple of players who would become known as the Super Macs.

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David Atkins and Matt Kearns pictured prior to the 1995 SG Ball Grand Final.

It was a tough first half, with the Raiders leading by just 8-6 at the break. But the Raiders were a team that was prepared to grind it out early, before unleashing their dangerous backs. And it was all the Green Machine in the second half. The Panthers didn't score a point, while the Raiders piled on 28.

The Raiders won 36-6, with centre Royston Lightning scoring a double. Current Raiders assistant coach Andrew McFadden also scored a try - as did future first grader Matt Gafa. Five eighth Mark McLinden was one of the stars, while Kearns, Atkins and a replacement forward, Troy Thompson also impressed.

Royston Lightning was such an exciting player, what a sight when he went rampaging down the field. He went on to make his first grade debut in 1996 but played just 14 first grade games. It's tough making the transition from junior football star to the big league.

Atkins went on to make 30 top grade appearances for Canberra. Gafa 42. Gafa's still helping build the game in Canberra as the coach of the West Belconnen Warriors. McFadden made 76 appearances in green - while McLinden was the NRL Rookie of the Year in 1998 and played 165 first grade games for Canberra. That replacement forward, Troy Thompson, turned out in 156 first grade games for the Raiders.

Current Cowboys coach Todd Payten, and his assistant Ben Rauter, were members of that squad. Payten is still the youngest ever player to make his first grade debut for Canberra - at the age of 17 and 198 days. He did that against the Magpies in Round 18 of 1996. He played 90 games for the Raiders - before winning a premiership and playing 151 games with the Tigers. Rauter played three NRL games for Canberra, and nine for the Cowboys.

It was some team.

In 2005, the Canberra Raiders qualified for the SG Ball Grand Final by defeating the Manly Sea Eagles, 13-12, at St Marys.

It was a tough match, with neither side scoring a point in the first half. Tries to centre Junior Sau and hooker Chris Borgese put the Raiders ahead, 12-0. But the Sea Eagles levelled with two tries of their own.

It all came down to the final three minutes and five eighth Marc Herbert. From 40 metres out, he kicked the winning field goal.

It had been a remarkable journey for the team and their coach Dave Hamilton. They started the season with a 60-14 defeat at the hands of the Sea Eagles. They lost four of the opening five matches that season.

The Under 18s outfit was in 13th place on the ladder after seven rounds. They qualified for the finals in eighth position. They just scraped in. They then defeated the minor premiers, the Eels, 40-26, in the finals. They had to win five in a row just to get to the Grand Final.

The Raiders met the Illawarra Steelers in the decider at St Marys. The result was almost never in doubt.

Canberra led 16-0 at half time, and went to a 28 point lead before the Steelers could get on the scoreboard.

Junior Sau scored a hat trick - while prop Craig Woodland, centre Kose Lelei and captain Marc Herbert also scored tries. Herbert, Woodland and Borgese were the stars in the 34-12 victory.

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The 2005 SG Ball team celebrates their Grand Final victory over the Steelers.

The next day the young Raiders took a lap of honour around Canberra Stadium, in front of a crowd of almost 14,000, prior to the NRL clash with the Sharks.

Only Herbert played first grade with the Raiders from that squad. He made 23 NRL appearances for Canberra. Junior Sau played 90 NRL games with the Knights and the Storm. He also represented New Zealand and Samoa. There were other good players in that team - fullback Troy O'Sullivan, the son of Chris and winger Michael Brophy, to name a couple - who went on to play at State Cup level or in England. Again, it highlights how tough it is to take the next step up.

Now, 2021 has a sense of a little bit of history repeating.

A narrow defeat of the Sea Eagles in the Grand Final qualifier. A meeting with the Steelers in the decider.

I'm hoping we shall see another SG Ball Grand Final win over the Steelers this Saturday at Leichardt.

Good luck to the team.

1995 SG Ball Grand Final team: Ted Simpson, Corey Swann, Matthew Gafa, Royston Lightning, Andrew McFadden, Mark McLinden, Jason Fruend, Tom Booth, Scott O'Neall, Todd Payten, David Atkins, Matthew Kearns, Ben Rauter. Reserves: Michael Braddon, Troy Thompson, Nathan Hollingsworth, Michael Millward, Shane McGovern, Brad Kelly, Alex Georgievski

2005 SG Ball Grand Final team: Troy O'Sullivan, Laauli Faatamala, Junior Sau, Kose Lelei, Michael Brophy, Marc Herbert (c), David Barrie, Jay Lasscock, Chris Borgese, Craig Woodland, Josh White, Domonic Blayden, Matt Lewis. Reserves: James Pritchard, Tsai Tui, Mick Hill, Simon Morgan, Dan Scanlon, Brodie Riley, Jack Ayeniseba

The remarkable journey of the 2005 Canberra Raiders SG Ball team

Round 1, Lost to the Sea Eagles, 60-14
Round 2, Lost to the Eels, 40-16
Round 3, Won against the Roosters, 40-20
Round 4, Lost to the Steelers, 40-16
Round 6, Lost to the Dragons, 38-20
Round 7, Won against the Panthers, 36-22
Round 8, Won against the Bulldogs, 36-18
Round 9, Won against the Tigers, 60-16
Qualifying Final, Won against the Eels, 40-26
Semi Final, Won against the Sea Eagles, 13-12
Grand Final, Won against the Steelers, 34-12

****

The Canberra Raiders have a very short turnaround this week - and in Round 8 will face an in-form Rabbitohs team in Thursday Night Football at Canberra Stadium. The Green Machine is not looking too well oiled right at the moment, having lost three games in a row. The manner of last weekend's loss to the Cowboys - giving up an 18 point lead to a team that is expected to finish well down the ladder - hit the team and the fans hard.

It is difficult to see the Raiders getting the win against the third placed Rabbitohs - but maybe what the Raiders need to do is channel a bit of the spirit of the 2019 Preliminary Final.



We witnessed one of the great moments in club history when Josh Papalii scored the match sealer against the Rabbitohs in that game. It sent the Raiders to their first Grand Final in a quarter of a century. There was an outpouring of emotion at Canberra Stadium that night like we'd never seen before.

Hopefully, we see the Raiders bounce back for what would be an emotional win on Thursday. And hopefully, the Rabbitohs are left with nothing else to do but add another chapter to their "book of feuds".

****

If you can't make the trip to Leichhardt on Saturday for the SG Ball Grand Final, make sure you get out to Kippax to see the Raiders in action in their NSW Cup clash with the Rabbitohs. Kick off is at 4pm, and will follow the Canberra Raiders Cup match between the West Belconnen Warriors and Woden Valley Rams. Have lunch at Raiders Belconnen and then settle in for a great afternoon of footy!

*****

Every week I rate the Raiders players on a scale of 0-10... and here is the points tally after the Round 7 clash with the Cowboys. Tell us what you think of the ratings!

Total points

Ryan Sutton 51
Jordan Rapana 48
Josh Papalii 48
George Williams 45
Jack Wighton 45
Elliott Whitehead 44
Hudson Young 41
Josh Hodgson 38
Bailey Simonsson 35
Ryan James 35
Sia Soliola 35
Siliva Havili 35
Sebastian Kris 32
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 31
Joe Tapine 30
Curtis Scott 27
Jarrod Croker 26
Tom Starling 26
Dunamis Lui 15
Caleb Aekins 13
Emre Guler 11
Corey Harrawira-Naera 6
Corey Horsburgh 6

Average points per match

Ryan Sutton 7.3
Jordan Rapana 6.9
Josh Papalii 6.9
Hudson Young 6.8
Caleb Aekins 6.5
George Williams 6.4
Jack Wighton 6.4
Josh Hodgson 6.3
Elliott Whitehead 6.3
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 6.2
Corey Harrawira-Naera 6.0
Corey Horsburgh 6.0
Joe Tapine 6.0
Bailey Simonsson 5.8
Ryan James 5.8
Sia Soliola 5.8
Emre Guler 5.5
Curtis Scott 5.4
Sebastian Kris 5.3
Jarrod Croker 5.2
Tom Starling 5.2
Dunamis Lui 5.0
Siliva Havili 5.0

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The Nickman
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by The Nickman »

Personally, I think we're **** until CNK gets back.
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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Through green eyes 2021

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: A premiership lost in the record books

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This week's column on the Canberra Raiders SG Ball Grand Final victories has sparked some commentary on Facebook from some of the Raiders players and staff of the early 2000s asking... "What about the 2003 SG Ball premiership?"

The NSWRL official website has the Panthers as the winners in 2003. But those involved say the Raiders beat an undefeated Eels team that year, and the Raiders knocked out the Panthers in the first final.

Coach Dave Hamilton is reportedly unhappy the NSWRL has written his team out of the record books!

According to the 2004 Rugby League Annual, this Canberra Raiders SG Ball team defeated the Parramatta Eels, 16-4, in the 2003 Grand Final:

Jade Williams
Marc Herbert
Luke Gray
Adam Ryan
Pere Williams
Todd Carney
Michael Dobson (c)
Cy Lasscock
Luke Jay
Kieran Whalley
Steve McLean
Jason Back
Mitch Antony

Reserves
Tari Riki
Tim McNally
Tim Weyman
Josh Ayers
Shane Gowen
Matt Holmes
Brendan Turnbull
Joe Onorato
Kosta Kouparitsas
Joe Picker

Some great names there.

Luke Jay, Jade Williams and Luke Gray scored tries for the Raiders, while Todd Carney kicked two goals in the match played at Belmore Sports Ground.

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Todd Carney's book, "Hard Truth", co-written by Tony Adams, says Carney was in the 2005 SG Ball Grand Final winning team. This is an extract:

"I made the Canberra junior rep sides and had some success. In 2005 Parramatta were undefeated all year and we met them in the final of the SG Ball Cup They were unbackable favourites but we put it all together on the day. I did okay, and we knocked them off in the big one, which was an amazing feeling. It was only the second time the Raiders had won the title and the club treated us like conquering heroes - we loved it."

However, by 2005, Todd Carney was virtually a regular in first grade and had already made his NRL debut in 2004. He is actually referring to the 2003 SG Ball win.

And it is now clear the Canberra Raiders have won the SG Ball Grand Final three times.

Hopefully we can help correct the NSWRL's records.

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"There were some positives. I thought they overcame [the loss of George Williams in the warm up] really well, the way they played. Elliott Whitehead played really well in regards to having to play five-eighth, I thought he handled that change late very well. I was pleased we got back into it, there was a lot of fight to get back into the game and it should have been a lot closer in the last 10 minutes. We're giving up two to three tries a game that are, how do I say it, they're tries we can stop. But unfortunately it's not happening.

It was smart by Benji Marshall to run forward and try and tackle a person that was going to help him get a penalty, good gamesmanship. There was no way in the world they were going to tackle either of those players there. Anyone with a bit of common sense in regards to rugby league knows that they were two tries[for Jack Wighton], but I'll leave it at that. That type of interpretation in the game, it's going to be a blight on the game as well, we've been talking about it for years. You can't run forward and tackle somebody in front of you and not try and tackle the person with the football can you?

I will [have a discussion with the referee's boss]. This has been happening a lot this year to us. I'll look like a whinger, which I don't really give a **** about being labelled a whinger. But when you get a game out there where it's 8-1 in penalties, I just think that probably needs a discussion. The ruck was so slow tonight mate. So slow. I can't believe it was only seven restarts [for the Raiders].

It probably sounds like it, but I'm not being disrespectful to Souths. They're playing good footy at the moment. I thought we equalled the performance tonight and I was happy with a big part of our game. But as I said we can't keep giving away a cheap 12-18 points a game. That's what we're doing, so we've only got ourselves to blame, no one else."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart


2021 Round 8. South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 - Canberra Raiders 20. The Raiders came to play. They were disrupted by injury. There were players who were on notice. There were players who had effectively been dropped. And the team that took the park certainly responded. Coach Ricky Stuart often says that the "effort is always there". But to be frank, in recent weeks, it hasn't been consistently there across the park. The effort was there last night. There was intent in defence. There was vigour in attack. But ultimately, the Raiders were beaten by a better team. And they've now lost four in a row.



The loss of George Williams in the warm up to a hamstring injury was a huge blow. Elliott Whitehead had to move to the halves, while Hudson Young started and Sia Soliola was a last minute inclusion. But the team didn't blink. They were the better team in the first half, with strong defence putting the Rabbitohs on the back foot. The attack almost seemed to flourish, with Wighton running left and Whitehead feeding the right.

Obviously, the Raiders still have some problems. The defence on the right side was repeatedly short on numbers and Bailey Simonsson kept coming in, leaving the flank exposed. But the fundamental problem was that the numbers were not sliding, the defensive line was not adjusting. The problems were so serious Simonsson was eventually switched to the opposite wing. But the Rabbitohs then targeted that edge and an injured Sebastian Kris.

The Raiders fell into a second half hole again. They lost the battle for territory in the first 20 minutes of the second half. The Rabbitohs' kicking game was superior, pinning the Raiders on their own line - and the Raiders forwards just couldn't get them out of their own half. It was where the game was won and lost. Ricky Stuart said this week that the second half blues has nothing to do with fatigue. But the selection and use of the bench could probably be better. Ryan James played for only 23 minutes last night, while Sia Soliola was only brought into the game for the final nine minutes. Unless there are players playing injured, you'd have to ask why.

The Raiders did well to get out of their funk and come back in the final stages. Their efforts deserved better, with two tries to Jack Wighton disallowed. The calls might have been technically correct. But I've got a lot of sympathy for Ricky Stuart's view, that common sense refereeing could have just as easily come up with an alternative call. Benji Marshall milked an obstruction, deliberately tackling Emre Guler rather than attempting to stop the try. The referees call "milking" all the time during a game. Why not then? In fact, the Rabbitohs milked penalties on more than one occasion last night - including the penalty which led to the final goal.

The second Wighton "try" that was disallowed was a 50-50 call. Corey Harawira-Naera fell to the ground to avoid the obstruction... and no Rabbitohs player was actually obstructed from making a tackle. But it still says "penalty Rabbitohs" in the statistics this morning.

It is a fair question to ask why the Rabbitohs received eight penalties to one, while the Raiders received seven restarts to none. There easily could have been more restarts for the Raiders - and some of the restarts could easily have been penalties. In the end, however, the officiating is not the reason the Raiders lost. It was the defence that was the prime problem for the Green Machine.

Stats that mattered?

The Raiders came close to an even share of possession and territory in the first half. Not quite. They had 49 per cent of the ball and 46 per cent of the territory. But the Rabbitohs dominated both departments in the second half (60 per cent of possession, 70 per cent of the territory).

In the end, Canberra had only a 45 per cent possession share. That wasn't due to errors (Raiders 7, Rabbitohs 9). Both teams completed at 79 per cent. It reflects the fact that the Rabbitohs keep the ball moving (Rabbitohs 246 passes, Raiders 171) - but also the penalty count that I've already mentioned. The Rabbitohs made more runs (198-164), running metres (1724-1582), post contact metres (593-569) and tackle breaks (20-12). The Raiders produced more kick return metres (209-182) and offloads (10-8). Line breaks were level.

There wasn't much difference in the kicking statistics. The Raiders made slightly more kicking metres (586-577) from fewer kicks (18-21). The Raiders had a slightly better effective tackle rate too (92-91 per cent). The Rabbitohs posted twice as many ineffective tackles than the Raiders (24-12). But the Raiders missed almost twice as many tackles as the Rabbitohs (20-12). The defence on the edges was a critical difference. The tries just came too easily out wide for South Sydney at times.

Memorable moments?

I was impressed by Elliott Whitehead's try in the first half, which came off the back of some good offloads. Whitehead then dummied, fooled Marshall, and crashed through the line. The best Raiders try came in the 66th minute, with a great run from Curtis Scott - and a brilliant, desperate pass to Jordan Rapana for the four pointer. It put Canberra back into a position where a comeback was possible. Sadly, that possibility was fizzled out in the bunker.

Best performers?

Jordan Rapana. Two tries, 12 runs for 118 metres, 26 kick return metres, 31 post contact metres, two line breaks, eight tackle breaks, one line break, six tackles, 100 per cent tackle efficiency.

Elliott Whitehead. One try, eight runs for 83 metres, 25 post contact metres, one line break, two tackle breaks, five dummies, 25 tackles, 96 per cent tackle efficiency.

Tom Starling. Eight runs for 89 metres, 41 post contact metres, six dummy half runs, one offload, 49 tackles, 96 per cent tackle efficiency, no errors.

Jack Wighton. 10 runs for 77 metres, 20 post contact metres, one try assist, 24 tackles, 86 per cent tackle efficiency, 548 kicking metres.

Top tacklers: Tom Starling 49, Hudson Young 44, Corey Horsburgh 40
Most metres gained: Caleb Aekins 195, Bailey Simonsson 145, Curtis Scott 135

My player ratings:

Caleb Aekins 6
Bailey Simonsson 4
Sebastian Kris 6
Curtis Scott 6
Jordan Rapana 7
Jack Wighton 7
Elliott Whitehead 7
Ryan James 4
Tom Starling 7
Emre Guler 6
Corey Harawira-Naera 4
Hudson Young 5
Ryan Sutton 6

Siliva Havili 6
Joe Tapine 6
Corey Horsburgh 6
Sia Soliola 1*

* Played very limited minutes.

Do you agree with the ratings? Let us know what you think!

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zim
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by zim »

As you mentioned Simonsson got hung out to dry a few times in that game. There's things he could improve on when to drop back or not but it's pretty difficult when they're already starting with a 2 man overlap from the play the ball. Almost seemed like he got a little timid in his decision making when his 3rd Cody Walker smashing led to a try.

CNK not being there to fix the numbers up might be part of the issue. Or the middles just need to be reminded they have to work harder from the inside.
That left edge was working a lot harder to get across but it's also the rabbits weaker attacking side.

It's no real surprise that we're looking a much better side when we win the ruck. We've been seeing our forwards get on top a lot more consistently the last 2 weeks and it's led to some nice opportunities. We need to keep it up.
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afgtnk
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by afgtnk »

No way was Simonsson a 4 - minimum 6. Laughable to suggest that he's at fault for coming in off his wing when he has to in those situations - in fact, the majority of this forum doesn't seem to get what a winger's job is in defence.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by BJ »

afgtnk wrote:No way was Simonsson a 4 - minimum 6. Laughable to suggest that he's at fault for coming in off his wing when he has to in those situations - in fact, the majority of this forum doesn't seem to get what a winger's job is in defence.
Can’t agree with you here. He absolutely has to fold in with his centre, that’s how modern defensive structures work.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by afgtnk »

Let's do this methodically with analysis shall we, as it seems people don't understand this **** and need to have it explained. The second try in the second half seems to illustrate best, as it has the panned out shot.

Cummins indicates it's the fifth. Simonsson has dropped back for the kick, as he's meant to do. Souths have 7 numbers stacked on the right to our 4, which includes their three ball players (Reynolds, Marshall, Walker). It looks like CHN is out of position, as he's meant to be defending inside Whitehead.

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Horsburgh defending in the middle commits to Reynolds (who's probably never going to run).

Whitehead's got a lead runner and Marshall out the back to contend with, defending where he probably would as a right edge backrower. At this point, it's 6 on 3. Simonsson starts to run up to try bolster the numbers after a kick doesn't ensue.

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Whitehead misses any opportunity to take Marshall, opting to back off and slide

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Scott misses any opportunity to take Walker, who now has the run on his outside. At this point it's a 3 on 1, save for any chance of Aekins sweeping around late on the wing.

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The final pass for the try. Walker had the option to go through Gagai, who could've dummied and scored himself or went through the hands to Johnston, or cut out Gagai and go straight to Johnston.

Option 2 was taken, with Johnston steaming onto the ball. He has too much speed for Simonsson trying to recover and Aekins coming across.

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The issues are that:

a) We're grossly outnumbered and haven't gone out from the middle well enough
b) Player out of position
c) Whitehead and Scott haven't taken the risk to commit snuffing out either Marshall or Walker as they've received the ball, which is the only way we could've stopped that play with the numbers we had

Almost nothing to do with Bailey Simonsson there. Any winger on the planet is doomed in that position. He's taken the fall for what is clearly a **** bit of defending by the team.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by The Nickman »

I dunno about this one, afghjgjkkgkh. Looking at just the last two graphics you've put up, Simo looks to be out of position, and Scott looks to have his man marked. I think Simo needed to be outside on his wing. But that's all communication, that's not just Simo's fault, it's also Whitehead's, Scott's and Aekins' fault for not telling each other where to be. As a very, very long-term touch footy player, I can tell you that communication really is the be-all and end-all in defence, and it's at a completely different level again for a rugby league game, and again at NRL level. Communication is that damn important.

BUT, saying all that I also agree with you that this forum is too harsh on the guy, I quite like Simo and think he should be playing on the left. 4/10 is a ludicrous rating for him too, he wasn't THAT bad.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by afgtnk »

Out of position? He was back for the kick! :lol:

What do you think happens if he's in the line? A kick goes in behind for a piss easy try, where the pelicans on the forum would give him an even bigger bath and blame him for not being back in position.

The only real way for that try to be stopped once they have the numbers, and it's something we see regularly, is for one of Whitehead or Scott to rush up out of the line and kill the play. No winger is stopping that, unless they get a lucky hand on the ball.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by The Nickman »

afgtnk wrote: April 30, 2021, 4:02 pm Out of position? He was back for the kick! :lol:

What do you think happens if he's in the line? A kick goes in behind for a piss easy try, where the pelicans on the forum would give him an even bigger bath and blame him for not being back in position.

The only real way for that try to be stopped once they have the numbers, and it's something we see regularly, is for one of Whitehead or Scott to rush up out of the line and kill the play. No winger is stopping that, unless they get a lucky hand on the ball.
That's not what I meant at all. In the third last frame he's not out of position, he's in a good spot to still rush up on his winger, but in the last two he somehow ends up in the exact same place as Scott, when Scott and Whitehead appear to have adequately slid and covered the inside men.

I was never once insinuating he should've been defending in the line, not even sure how you came to that conclusion.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by The Nickman »

Here, I'll use your own pictures to highlight what I mean, seeing as you seem to be hell-bent on taking me out of context.

In the following frame, he's NOT out of position, he's in a good spot to cover his winger, and Scott and Whitehead are coming across to take the centre.

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But by the time we get to the NEXT frame, somehow all three of them are on the centre and the winger is unmarked.

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By the final frame, Scott even looks to be OUTSIDE him, man. Clear path for the winger to the tryline.

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But like I said, this isn't all on Simo, it's a complete breakdown of communication from the winger, the centre, the second rower AND the fullback.
Last edited by The Nickman on April 30, 2021, 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by The Nickman »

I genuinely have no idea how you thought that was me saying he should've been defending in the line. Geez.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by afgtnk »

What will rushing up on the winger do when as Walker gets the ball, he's able to get on the outside of Scott, thus giving Souths a 3 on 1? That makes no sense at all.

Even if he ran fult pelt he would've be able to get there in time and effect anything anyway - you're looking at frames. They came at us with speed.

The best and usual way teams stop that kind of outnumbering is by the second or third defender in jumping out. The winger can try come up into the opposition's line and intercept the pass/get a hand on, but by then it's extremely low percentage at that last remaining layer of defence. You simply cannot blame a winger for not being able to stop that.
Last edited by afgtnk on April 30, 2021, 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by The Nickman »

I'm using the exact same frames you used to prove your original point!
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by afgtnk »

It's being done at speed, Nickman. It's split seconds stuff from one frame to the next. There's two fifths of **** all time. And the winger is unmarked because Walker is already passed Scott, so Simonsson HAS to be on the centre
Last edited by afgtnk on April 30, 2021, 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by The Nickman »

Also, I'm not blaming the winger, I repeatedly said that this was a complete breakdown of communication between the whole right edge and the fullback... which resulted in Simo jamming in on the centre when he needed to stay out.

Anyway, I've said my bit, you just seem intent on an argument I'm not actually trying to have. I think Simo is a good player, he's in my team next week... on the left.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by afgtnk »

I can't be clearer here, Nickman. When Walker got the ball, he got outside Scott. That's because Scott turned in on the second lead runner, which allowed Walker to get the run on him at speed. I don't blame Scott for that, but if that play was to be stopped, Scott was probably the main guy there that needed to jump out. Again, tough with the numbers.

Walker had a 3 on 1 with Simonsson. If Simonsson stays on the winger, one of Walker or Gagai stroll over for the try, and Simo gets blamed for not coming in.

If you're still unsure, watch the footage available to all of us.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by The Nickman »

So... a complete breakdown in communication between the whole right edge and the fullback?
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by -PJ- »

As a young fella my coach told me to mark my winger, he’s my man.

Any try scored on the inside of me I wasn’t responsible for.

Don’t jam in, stay out and mark your man.

It made the blokes inside of me look silly but hey..
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by Bay53 »

The Nickman wrote: April 30, 2021, 4:14 pm Here, I'll use your own pictures to highlight what I mean, seeing as you seem to be hell-bent on taking me out of context.

In the following frame, he's NOT out of position, he's in a good spot to cover his winger, and Scott and Whitehead are coming across to take the centre.

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But by the time we get to the NEXT frame, somehow all three of them are on the centre and the winger is unmarked.

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By the final frame, Scott even looks to be OUTSIDE him, man. Clear path for the winger to the tryline.

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But like I said, this isn't all on Simo, it's a complete breakdown of communication from the winger, the centre, the second rower AND the fullback.
Christ this is a rather detailed dissection of a play from a man whose most famous activity in GH reviews was being so drunk he was held up by Brew!!
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by Bay53 »

Even more scary is it is spot on!!
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by The Nickman »

Yeah, that GH Live was the highlight of my career so far. I think I even took a call from Botman about halfway through and he was crying.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by Botman »

The Nickman wrote: April 30, 2021, 9:27 pm Yeah, that GH Live was the highlight of my career so far. I think I even took a call from Botman about halfway through and he was crying.
God, those were the best of days
I was literally in tears talking to you and watching it live. Amazing scenes
CREATE PROCEDURE BotMan_Post AS
SELECT * FROM Previous_Post
EXEC quote_post
WHERE UserName = 'Aknalkfgnaa' OR 'Yeah Raiders' OR 'Billy B'
EXEC RAND(good_grief; cheak_notes; uh82cit;)

GO;
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by The Nickman »

Botman wrote:
The Nickman wrote: April 30, 2021, 9:27 pm Yeah, that GH Live was the highlight of my career so far. I think I even took a call from Botman about halfway through and he was crying.
God, those were the best of days
I was literally in tears talking to you and watching it live. Amazing scenes
At least one of us can remember it, old friend.
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Re: Through green eyes 2021

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: Sometimes, it's not easy being green

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It's been a tough week for anyone who bleeds green. A tough month really.

This week it was revealed that Josh Hodgson had stood himself down as co-captain two weeks ago. The stories are various and not fully clear, but it appears that happened after Hodgson was to be dropped to the bench. That decision was not made clear at the time, because Hodgson suffered a calf injury at training, before the team could be announced. In addition, reports emerged that other clubs have shown interest in early release for Hodgson.

It was also revealed that English half George Williams was homesick and had informally approached the club about the possibility of an early release. It is understandable. His partner is expecting and the couple is separated from family due to international travel restrictions and the pandemic. The Raiders have indicated that they are not willing to entertain an early release, but will look to provide additional support for the couple - perhaps by facilitating visits to Australia from family.

If follows a month in which big name players have been dropped or rested - and the partner of a player went public with criticism of the coach's interchange decisions on social media.

It is fairly clear that there is some unhappiness in the camp. That's inevitably going to come when the team has lost four games in a row and suffered some disappointing losses.

But I also have a sense that we are seeing a club in transition. There are greater forces at work. Rugby league has quickly evolved, with rule changes designed to speed the ruck, to speed the play. The balance has shifted in favour of attack.

The defence oriented game plan that proved so successful in the past couple of years - and which saw the Raiders make the 2019 Grand Final - is not working in 2021. I've previously written about the problems we're seeing on the field. I won't go through all that again. Execution could be one issue, but other clubs seem to be ahead of the Raiders in making tactical changes that suit the new rules. I also suspect that some of the veteran players have found the faster game difficult to adjust to. Time might be passing some by. Time will tell on all that.

Clearly, there are a lot of difficult issues on Ricky Stuart's plate. He's had to make some tough decisions already - and more may be needed. Taking tough decisions while maintaining team unity is not easy. The responsibility for that is not all on the coach, of course. The players have to play their part too. The message that Ricky Stuart has reportedly been stressing this week - that no individual is bigger than the club - is an important one.

It is not too late to get the club back on the rails in 2021. We are just one third of the way through the season. The Raiders are on the edge of the eight. The top five teams now have a bit of a break on the rest of the competition. A top four finish might now be difficult to achieve, but it is not out of the question.

But it has to start with winning against the Knights at Wagga on Saturday. Hopefully, we see the team respond with the sort of resolve we saw in the first half against the Rabbitohs last week, and with an 80 minute performance. Hopefully it is the start of an inspiring charge to the finals. I believe it can happen.

****

I went to Leichhardt Oval last Saturday and witnessed a great SG Ball Grand Final - and a well deserved premiership for our Under 19s team. Congratulations to the boys!







The Raiders really do have some great young talent coming through - with man of the match Trey Mooney, captain Clay Webb and prop Caleb Esera leading the way up front in the decider. The Raiders' defensive resolve in the past couple of weeks was amongst the best I've seen at junior representative level. Ultimately, that's what won the premiership. It was impressive how calm the team was when their main play maker, Sione Moala, had to leave the field with an ankle injury in the Grand Final. It was a terrific performance all round.

It is the Raiders' fourth SG Premiership. I wrote last week about the previous victories - including the 2003 Grand Final, which seems to have been left out of the NSWRL records. Thanks to all the staff and players who reminded us of the 2003 win! We have been working on having the records fixed.

****

In the past week, news has filtered out that the NRL has developed a proposal for a conference system - as part of plans for expanding the competition to two new teams.

The idea is that there would be a nine team Sydney conference, and a nine team conference for the out of Sydney teams. All teams would play each other once, but teams would face those in their own conference twice. It has also been proposed that there would be "three Grand Finals" - one for each conference, with the winners facing off in a "Super Bowl" Grand Final.

It appears that this proposal was first made by Phil Gould and Phil Rothfield. Gould is someone who ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys listens to. So it is not surprising it is back on the agenda - and popular with Sydney clubs.

In my view, it is a very bad idea.

In recent years, the NRL has changed the way it formulates the draw. It has deliberately aimed to create more "Sydney derbies". It gives an unfair advantage to the Sydney teams, as it significantly reduces their travel burden. It became a very obvious advantage last year, when the likes of Penrith and Parramatta virtually never had to leave western Sydney. It gives the Sydney teams the financial advantage of bigger crowds - as fans from Sydney teams can easily travel to away games.

What the conference proposal does is institutionalise and enhance this unfair advantage for Sydney teams. It means the out of Sydney teams - and their fans - have an even heavier travel burden. It also guarantees a Sydney club a place in the ultimate Grand Final.

It is also a bad idea as it is inimical to a truly national competition. We had a Sydney journalist last week telling us that it would create a "championship more valuable than the premiership itself". The Sydney clubs still yearn for the days of the "Sydney competition". They still see the "Sydney championship" as more important than the national title. They want to go back to 1981 and the days of suburban football.

The reaction from most clubs and fans from outside Sydney has been understandably frosty. But even those in Sydney are realising that there's a downside for them - that there would never be an "all Sydney" Grand Final. Not to mention that two teams from outside Sydney could never meet in a Grand Final.

This proposal deserves short shrift. Expansion of the competition to 18 teams means that conferences may be needed - if 24 rounds are to be retained. But a much fairer way of determining the make up of conferences would be to "seed" teams on the basis of their ladder position in the previous season. It would mean the conferences are of fairly even strength - and the travel burden would be randomised.

****

Every week I rate the Raiders players on a scale of 0-10... and here is the points tally after the Round 8 clash with the Rabbitohs. Tell us what you think of the ratings!

Total points

Ryan Sutton 57
Jordan Rapana 55
Jack Wighton 52
Elliott Whitehead 51
Josh Papalii 48
Hudson Young 46
George Williams 45
Siliva Havili 41
Bailey Simonsson 39
Ryan James 39
Josh Hodgson 38
Sebastian Kris 38
Joe Tapine 36
Sia Soliola 36
Curtis Scott 33
Tom Starling 33
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 31
Jarrod Croker 26
Caleb Aekins 19
Emre Guler 17
Dunamis Lui 15
Corey Horsburgh 12
Corey Harrawira-Naera 10

Average points per match

Ryan Sutton 7.1
Jordan Rapana 6.9
Josh Papalii 6.9
Hudson Young 6.6
Jack Wighton 6.5
George Williams 6.4
Elliott Whitehead 6.4
Caleb Aekins 6.3
Josh Hodgson 6.3
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 6.2
Corey Horsburgh 6.0
Joe Tapine 6.0
Emre Guler 5.7
Bailey Simonsson 5.6
Ryan James 5.6
Curtis Scott 5.5
Tom Starling 5.5
Sebastian Kris 5.4
Jarrod Croker 5.2
Sia Soliola 5.1
Siliva Havili 5.1
Corey Harrawira-Naera 5.0
Dunamis Lui 5.0

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