Through green eyes 2019

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

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BadnMean
John Ferguson
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by BadnMean » May 19, 2019, 10:20 pm

gangrenous wrote:
May 19, 2019, 9:44 pm
Food for thought, in the last few years in games where only only one team has had a player binned the Raiders have had 11 sin bins to their opponents 5 Image
Well I'm halfway through the rewatch now. The effect is compounded by G Burgess getting pinged for a couple of high shots and G Burges getting in a war with Hors for a few ruck infringements- but they are spread over time...

Yes, he could easily have gone for 10. But plenty of games other guys don't go either... To be honest some of the ruck penalties with him vs Hors were what a neutral would call 50/50/ or at least either way calls.

What I like is Hors and Young getting stuck right into Surgess. Reminds me of a mini Papalii vs Gallen #1- the day when whatever you think of Dave Furner as coach he gave formerly too mild mannered Papa direct instruction and no room to avoid but to just go out and start a (rules legal) fight with the most feared forward in the game and the Papa we know was born.

EDIT: And you know my earlier query of GE giving Sam a 7 and Wighton a 6... Well Within had a good game but in terms of impact and potentially winning us the game- Williams try obviously (he had a bit to do, no catch and fall over job- he gives the nice early ball and then stays alive and evades the cover) but then that late spiral bomb which their FB drops and leads to the Croker "potential" match winner that is just ripped out of his hand as he literally falls over the line. Those were clutch plays. Defence also generally good- comes out quick and chops the legs leaving he over the top stuff to the big guys but ensures he stops and/or drops the man.

Jack was very good first half but just good in 2nd. Can live with the points.

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The Rickman
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by The Rickman » May 20, 2019, 11:44 am

Gee, I have to say I'm loving ALL of the rhetoric from Coach Stuart this season, just not making excuses and absolutely talking the talk.

It is so refreshing.
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LastRaider
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by LastRaider » May 20, 2019, 6:53 pm

Papa’s run was awesome. I love Big front rower tearing down the middle bumping players off.


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BadnMean
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by BadnMean » May 20, 2019, 8:47 pm

LastRaider wrote:
May 20, 2019, 6:53 pm
Papa’s run was awesome. I love Big front rower tearing down the middle bumping players off.


Sent from my iPhone using The Greenhouse
Oh yeah- when a prop sees the FB and decides NOT to slow for a pass or try a fancy step, it's just beautiful. I've never seen the footage again but Wiki did it once and just never considered anything except the Maori Sidestep once he sighted the FB and scored after crushing the guy. So good.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by LastRaider » May 22, 2019, 7:42 am

BadnMean wrote:
LastRaider wrote:
May 20, 2019, 6:53 pm
Papa’s run was awesome. I love Big front rower tearing down the middle bumping players off.


Sent from my iPhone using The Greenhouse
Oh yeah- when a prop sees the FB and decides NOT to slow for a pass or try a fancy step, it's just beautiful. I've never seen the footage again but Wiki did it once and just never considered anything except the Maori Sidestep once he sighted the FB and scored after crushing the guy. So good.
Wiki was a machine too. They just have so much strength


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RedRaider
Steve Walters
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by RedRaider » May 23, 2019, 8:44 am

:hi Good News PJ.
Raiders are the poster boys in this week's Big League.

Tell Mrs PJ the cover is about the Indigenous Round with the words 'Inspiring Change' and some dot art on it.

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gangrenous
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Through green eyes 2019

Post by gangrenous » May 23, 2019, 8:53 am

Oh man, this was an exciting series but I don’t really like the way RR has written the final episode

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by -PJ- » May 23, 2019, 7:12 pm

RedRaider wrote:
May 23, 2019, 8:44 am
:hi Good News PJ.
Raiders are the poster boys in this week's Big League.

Tell Mrs PJ the cover is about the Indigenous Round with the words 'Inspiring Change' and some dot art on it.
Its about bloody time hey Red ?

Thanks mate..
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by RedRaider » May 24, 2019, 12:17 am

No worries PJ. Good things come to those who wait ..... and then hook in. We're Raiders fans. We're used to waiting.

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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » May 24, 2019, 4:00 pm

Through green eyes: Top five

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The Canberra Raiders and North Queensland Cowboys have never really had an intense rivalry. The Cowboys entered the competition in 1995 and for much of the following decade, the Raiders had their number. The Cowboys won just three of the 17 matches between the clubs in their first 10 years.

But then the fortunes of the two clubs turned. It was precisely at the time that a bloke called Johnathan Thurston moved to Townsville. The Raiders beat the Cowboys just nine times during Thurston's reign at North Queensland between 2005 and 2018 - and just six times with Thurston in the Cowboys' team. That's from a total of 24 matches.

Thurston always seemed to come up with the clutch play. Who can forget the Round 1 match in 2017, when a Thurston kick hit the crossbar, allowing Gavin Cooper to race through and score the winning try in golden point? Or how about the match at Canberra Stadium in 2015, when Thurston had three attempts at breaking a 20 all deadlock with a field goal. The first two were blocked by the Raiders, but not the third, Thurston kicking the one pointer as the clock said 80:00.

Two of the Raiders' wins against Thurston came in 2018, his final ever season. It is probable that the great half played one season too long. But for mine, the first of those wins was surely one of the Raiders' finest achievements against the Cowboys. Which got me to thinking... what other games would make the list of the top five victories over the Cowboys? Here's my top five!

Number 5 - Smith stars

The Raiders were on a five game losing streak in 2005, but the welcome return of five eighth Jason Smith from injury was just what was needed for the Green Machine. The veteran produced a brilliant individual try, set up another, and kicked the winning field goal six minutes from time. Smith was in total control of the match. On a wet day, the Raiders came back after trailing 12-0, to lead 22-12 at half time. The Cowboys drew level at 22-22 with just nine minutes left - through a converted try to Johnathon Thurston. The tense finish saw Thurston twice fail to send the match into golden point - giving the Raiders a 23-22 victory.

2005 Round 16 – Raiders 23 (Lincoln Withers, Jason Smith, Jermaine Ale, Alan Tongue tries, Clinton Schifcofske 3 goals, Jason Smith field goal) defeated Cowboys 22 at Canberra Stadium

Number 4 - An ugly golden point

Todd Carney sealed this heart stopping match in the eighth minute of extra time, with a golden point field goal from 39 metres out. It was one of the ugliest field goals you'll ever see in an ugly match, but it sealed a courageous victory. The Cowboys sat atop the competition ladder coming into the game, but Canberra led 12-8 at half time. That lead could have been greater if Marshall Chalk had not dropped a pass with the line open, 90 seconds out from the break. A Clinton Schifcofske penalty extended the Raiders lead, but a try and sideline conversion to Johnathon Thurston tied up the match 14-14. Despite throwing everything at the Raiders in attack in final 20 minutes, Canberra’s defence held on. The Cowboys had a chance to win in regulation time, but Chalk plucked a Matt Bowen field goal attempt out of mid-air.

2006 Round 12 – Raiders 15 (Phil Graham, David Howell tries, Clinton Schifcofske 3 goals, Todd Carney field goal) defeated Cowboys 14 at Townsville Stadium

Number 3- Landslide win

Ricky Stuart, Brad Clyde, Ruben Wiki, Ken Nagas and Brett Mullins. All were sitting in the stands for this match in 1998. Laurie Daley was coming back from an injured hamstring. And the Raiders led by just 14-12 at half time. But in an amazing second half the Raiders produced an incredible 36 points. David Furner personally posted 16 points, from a try and six goals. David Boyle got a hat trick, while both Mark McLinden and Ben Kennedy got doubles.

1998 Round 10 – Raiders 50 (David Boyle 3, Mark McLinden 2, Ben Kennedy 2, Leslie Vainikolo, David Furner tries, David Furner 6, Royston Lightning goals) defeated Cowboys 12 at Canberra Stadium

Number 2 - Drought broken in North Queensland

When the Canberra Raiders headed north in 2018, they had not won a match in Townsville since 2006. They were on a nine game losing streak in North Queensland. And by the end of the game, they'd broken the drought. Watch how it unfolded!



2018 Round 8 - Raiders 18 (Siliva Havili, Josh Papalii, Aidan Sezer tries; Jarrod Croker 3 goals) defeated North Queensland 8 at Townsville Stadium

Number 1 - Four for Wiki

The Cowboys' first game in the national capital, in Round 4 of 1996, wasn't much fun for the visitors, to say the least. The 1994 premiers still featured some of the game’s biggest names. Mullins, Nagas, Croker, Wiki, Daley, Lomax, Pongia, Furner and Clyde lined up for the Green Machine that day - while the Cowboys were still building a competitive team. It was a dominant display from Canberra, with Ruben Wiki picking up four tries - and the Raiders scoring 14 in total. The 56 point victory is the Raiders' fourth biggest in history, while it is also the Cowboys' fourth biggest defeat.

1996 Round 4 – Raiders 66 (Ruben Wiki 4, Jason Croker 2, Simon Woolford 2, Brett Mullins, Graham Appo, Jason Ferris, Brad Clyde tries, David Furner 8, Graham Appo goals) defeated Cowboys 10 at Canberra Stadium

Is one of your favourite memories of the Raiders' clashes with the Cowboys missing from that list? Let us know!

***

The Raiders match against the Cowboys on Saturday will be the final chance for players to impress State of Origin selectors. Josh Papalii is a shoe in for a starting prop role for Queensland. But unusually, a few Raiders are also in contention for the Blues.

New South Wales has a right centre spot up for grabs, and the media has bandied around the names of Jarrod Croker and Nick Cotric. Cotric made a good fist of filling in for the injured Joey Leilua last week for the Raiders. And despite the fact that is the only NRL game he's played at centre, it appears he is seriously being considered for that vacant right centre position by the Blues' heirarchy. Sadly for Jarrod Croker, he might be overlooked again - despite the fact he was voted one of the best centres in the competition in the annual NRL.com player's poll this week. Jack Wighton is the other player in contention - for a bench utility role. Since being moved to five eighth this year, he's shown how versatile he can be - and there's no doubt he has the strength and toughness needed at Origin level. Hopefully, one or more get a shot.

The Raiders will be doing their best to avoid thinking about Origin however. It is a danger game for the Green Machine. They've had intense battles against the top two teams in the past two weeks, and not come away with any competition points. There's a risk they might come into this game feeling a little flat. They'll need to be very focused on the task at hand.

The Cowboys have their own players looking to impress Origin selectors. And they'll be desperate to continue their recent vein of improved form. Any team that includes the likes of Michael Morgan, Jason Taumalolo and Matt Scott, to name but a few, is a dangerous team.

It is going to be a tough encounter, but if they Raiders play like they did against the Rabbitohs, they should come up with a win.

***

The Canberra Raiders NSW Cup affiliate, Mounties head to Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday, for a meeting with the Canterbury Bulldogs. Mounties are still placed first, while the Bulldogs are in seventh spot on the ladder. Mounties have only lost once this season, but they won't want to slip up in this one, as the Penrith Panthers are biting at their heels.

Round 7 of the Canberra Raiders Cup is headlined by a top three clash at Goulburn between the Bulldogs and the Blues. There are four good games on Sunday, so make sure you get out to a local ground. It's a great afternoon! If you can't, you can still see the Belconnen derby between the Warriors and Sharks on line 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 match against the Rabbitohs. Let us know if you agree with the ratings... or not!

Total points

Josh Papalii 74
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 73
Jack Wighton 70
Josh Hodgson 70
Elliott Whitehead 68
Jarrod Croker 68
Sia Soliola 67
Ryan Sutton 64
Nick Cotric 63
John Bateman 59
Siliva Havili 58
Dunamis Lui 53
Sam Williams 48
Joey Leilua 47
Corey Horsburgh 42
Jordan Rapana 40
Hudson Young 36
Bailey Simonsson 22
Michael Oldfield 18
Joe Tapine 13
Aidan Sezer 12
Jack Murchie 6
Emre Guler 5
JJ Collins 4
Sebastian Kris 2

Average points per match

Josh Papalii 7.4
John Bateman 7.4
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 7.3
Jack Wighton 7.0
Josh Hodgson 7.0
Elliott Whitehead 6.8
Jarrod Croker 6.8
Joey Leilua 6.7
Sia Soliola 6.7
Ryan Sutton 6.4
Nick Cotric 6.3
Aidan Sezer 6.0
Corey Horsburgh 6.0
Jack Murchie 6.0
Michael Oldfield 6.0
Sam Williams 6.0
Siliva Havili 5.8
Jordan Rapana 5.7
Bailey Simonsson 5.5
Dunamis Lui 5.3
Hudson Young 5.1
Emre Guler 5.0
Joe Tapine 4.3
JJ Collins 4.0
Sebastian Kris 2.0

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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » May 26, 2019, 11:51 am

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"We've put the work in to cover those things [injuries], it's been happening the last four weeks, so we've had to keep covering those positions with the guys who are substituting for them. That's not the excuse tonight with Hodgo going off, we weren't good enough. We had a week off and it's not good enough."

It doesn't help your cause when you're losing your best players and tonight's no different in losing Josh [Hodgson]. I hope it is only two or three [weeks out], I don’t know what the extent of it is going to be, but that's going to be Siliva's job. I don't see many positives out of that game we let ourselves down. We talk about the benchmark we set ourselves and improving and we went backwards tonight."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.


Round 11 2019. North Queensland Cowboys 22 - Canberra Raiders 16. It was a disappointing performance from the Canberra Raiders, probably the worst of the year. The Raiders are seriously affected to injuries to key players and they lost another during the match, with Josh Hodgson leaving the field with a suspected broken thumb. But the Raiders looked flat after two close losses, in intense matches against the top two teams.



The Cowboys are a side with some high quality players, but they've been playing poorly as a team for much of the season. They had players aiming to play themselves into State of Origin contention, and hooker Jake Granville did that. He repeatedly produced incisive dummy half runs and set up the Cowboys' first try, with an all too easy line break. The Cowboys forwards dominated the Raiders, with Jason Taumalolo running over 250 metres from 20 runs, while Josh McGuire, Jordan McLean and Gavin Cooper all ran for more than 100 metres.

But let's face it. The Cowboys were still gettable. Both teams scored three tries and the difference in the end was only six points. The Raiders had at least a couple of try scoring opportunities that were lost. Very early in the match, Nick Cotric's stepped and passed and put Michael Oldfield down the sideline. His pass back inside was not the best, and Sam Williams got his hands to it, but could not hold it. It was four points that went begging. At another stage, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad followed a grubber and it initially looked like he'd grounded it... but it was knocked on in goal. The finishing proved costly.

When Josh Hodgson went off the field, the team looked disorganised. The Raiders have not looked the best attacking in the red zone with Hodgson on the field. But when he was off the field, the team looked lost in those situations. Late in the game, the Raiders had a red zone chance to perhaps force golden point, but the set was completely wasted. You got the sense that if there was a Joey Leilua or Jordan Rapana on the field, perhaps they could have made the difference. Perhaps they could have provided the spark needed to break the Cowboys' defensive line. But the Raiders just could not quite make the impression in attack that was needed.

In the end, it was the Cowboys who ground out the win. The Cowboys forwards finished on top, the Raiders defence was not up to the mark, and the Raiders' ill discipline in the wrong part of the field gave the Cowboys six points from penalty goal. That ultimately proved to be the difference.



Stats that mattered? The Cowboys had slightly more possession (51 per cent share) and the slightly better completion rate (84-82 per cent). However, the Cowboys were dominant in running metres (1745 metres from 184 runs for the Cowboys, 1498 metres from 176 runs), kick return metres (179-98 metres), average set distance (47.2-39.4 metres) and tackle breaks (38-28). The Cowboys also made more post contact metres (505-474). The Raiders made more errors (12-9), while the penalties conceded were fairly even (Cowboys nine, Raiders eight). The teams were level for offloads (7-7) and line breaks (3-3).

The Raiders made more kicking metres (604 metres from 21 kicks, compared with 461 metres from 17 kicks for the Cowboys) - but they were too often being forced to get themselves out of trouble, given the running metres being conceded to the Cowboys. Canberra also produced one 40/20 (a very good kick from Jack Wighton) and one forced line drop out (nil in both departments for the Cowboys).

The Cowboys made slightly more tackles (334-325), and had the slightly better effective tackle rate (87.4-87.1 per cent). The Raiders missed more tackles (38-28), while the Cowboys made more ineffective tackles (20-10).

As a result of all that, the Raiders now find themselves outside of the top four. The Knights have jumped them into fourth place, on points differential - and the Raiders find themselves in a position where they are scrapping it out with a group of eight teams on 10 or 12 competition points. The Raiders are also at least four competition points adrift of the top three teams.

It is a concerning time for anyone who bleeds green... given the Raiders' considerable injury toll and the liklihood that the Raiders will also lose players to Origin. Canberra has now lost three matches in a row, and four of the past five games. A couple more losses could see the Raiders drop out of the top eight. And that would hurt, given the good start that the Raiders had made to the season and the progress made in the development of the team.

Memorable moments? There were three tries for the Raiders, but none are really in the running for the Raiders' try of the year. The first for Bailey Simonsson was the result of a very good pass from Jack Wighton... but some suggested it floated forward. The second was the best of them, with Sam Williams kicking to the corner and Michael Oldfield performing some acrobatics to ground it inside the touch in goal line. The third was a very good individual effort from Siliva Havili from dummy half, lunging over the line under the posts.

There were also some memorable moments in defence for Canberra. In the 12th minute, Nick Cotric produced a big tackle on Michael Morgan... and then raced back to the goal line to help Dunamis Lui and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to hold up Jake Granville over the line. Try saver. There was another in the 53rd minute, when Jarrod Croker threw an intercept to Justin O'Neill, who set Kyle Feldt away. It seemed certain Feldt would score, but then Bailey Simonsson showed his pace, chasing him from behind and rounding him up with a beautiful tackle.

Best performers?

Jack Wighton. 11 runs for 87 metres, one line break assist, one try assist, four tackle breaks, 15 tackles, 361 kicking metres from 11 kicks, one 40/20.

Corey Horsburgh. 17 runs for 178 metres, 67 post contact metres, one offload, 34 tackles.

Josh Papalii. 16 runs fro 147 metres, 52 post contact metres, two tackle breaks, two offloads, 19 tackles.

Top tacklers: Elliott Whitehead 40, Hudson Young 35, Corey Horsburgh 34
Most metres gained: Corey Horsburgh 178, Josh Papalii 147, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 126

My player ratings:

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 6
Bailey Simonsson 6
Jarrod Croker 4
Nick Cotric 7
Michael Oldfield 5
Jack Wighton 8
Sam Williams 5
Josh Papalii 7
Josh Hodgson 4
Dunamis Lui 6
Hudson Young 6
Elliott Whitehead 7
Ryan Sutton 6

Siliva Havili 7
Joe Tapine 4
Sia Soliola 6
Corey Horsburgh 7

* Limited minutes

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-PJ-
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by -PJ- » May 26, 2019, 12:25 pm

A poster in Big League followed by the worst performance of the year....

I can't believe what happened yesd.
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BadnMean
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by BadnMean » May 26, 2019, 12:55 pm

Most of the forwards a point too high. They were a well beaten pack.

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » May 30, 2019, 5:05 pm

Through green eyes: A quarter of a century

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A quarter of a century.

I was browsing The Greenhouse last night, and up popped an advertisement for a show at the Canberra Theatre. Deborah Conway and her husband Willy Zigier are appearing in concert to celebrate 25 years since Conway's classic album, "Bitch Epic". Really? Twenty five years ago?! That certainly brought back some memories of 1994. Nights sitting in my lounge room in Paris, sipping a St Emilion or a Cointreau and staring at the Eiffel Tower, listening to Conway until the lights on the tower shut down.



I spent four years living in France in the early 1990s. On reflection, it's been a long time since then. I always remained a member of the club. I got the Canberra Raiders score each week, through a phone call home every Sunday. The internet was in its infancy - and we hadn't really even heard of it. Initially, I was able to watch Canberra Raiders games on video cassettes sent over by friends and family from Australia. That was until the introduction of "Sky Sports" - beamed in by satellite from England - allowing us to see two games of Australian rugby league, on delay, every week. Satellite television was "new". That's how long ago it was.

Back in 1994, the Raiders were "alive and brilliant". It meant they were often one of the clubs featuring in the small number of games available each weekend on Australian television - and later beamed into France. Thankfully, the Grand Final was broadcast into Europe live - and I was up before dawn to see the Raiders defeat the Canterbury Bulldogs.



You all know how it went. Paul Osborne came into the team for the suspended John Lomax and produced the game of his life. The Raiders were dominant from the opening whistle, with Martin Bella knocking on the kick off. And the 13th Immortal, Mal Meninga, went out a winner. In Paris, we celebrated with pancakes and champagne and watched it all over again.

Before I continue... my apologies if you've read my story about this before. But I promise, it's a good story! I was posted at the Australian Embassy... and shortly after the Raiders won that third premiership, I was fortunate enough to meet the Australian Kangaroos touring team - chock full of Raiders. Even more fortunate, most of the team stayed on after the formal reception - joining the staff in their happy hour bar, "Matilda's".

Ricky Stuart wrote about this in his book, "Ashes to Ashes"... his account of the 1994 Kangaroos tour:

"A fair group of us accepted the Australian Embassy's invitation to an evening that turned out much different from what was expected. It was an informal get together. A lot of staff hadn't been home for years and relished the chance to chat with some fellow Aussies. The Qantas rugby league team also attended. We had a lovely meal - some Australian beer - great to drink - quite a late night, and a very, very enjoyable one."

I did get to meet Mal Meninga and Ricky Stuart... but didn't really speak to them. I did have a bit of a chat to Dean Pay, former Raiders assistant coach and current Bulldogs coach, about some of his good "enforcing" in the Ashes Tests in England. For me, the highlight was chatting to Laurie Daley while I screened my video recording of the 1994 Grand Final on the big screen - the first time any of the Raiders had seen the game again. I won't say too much, but there was a fair amount of imbibing by all. Amusingly Brett Mullins had his own bottle of JDs.

The Kangaroos met the French "President's XIII" team the next evening, and it is remarkable, really, that Australia was able to field a team. It was held at the Robert Bobbin Stadium outside the "peripherique", in the suburbs. I suspect it took the whole first half for the hangovers to wear off... but the French team did get quite a bit of help from the local officials. There was penalty try to the President's XIII just two minutes in, but eventually the Kangaroos got their act into gear and ran out 42-17 winners.

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Pennant handed out by the French Federation for the match between the Kangaroos and French President’s XIII.

***

They were good times. But as I was saying, it has been a long time since then. Twenty five years since the last premiership for the Green Machine. The start to season 2019 has been one of the best in any of the years since. The manner of Canberra's victories had been the most impressive thing. They have been built on good, intense defence and much improved game management. It placed Canberra in a good position to launch a premiership challenge in the back half of the year.

However, after injury to key players and three straight losses, the Raiders' season has now reached a critical point. Last week, the Canberra slipped out of the top four, with a loss to the 13th placed Cowboys. The Raiders are now one of eight teams on 12 or 10 competition points.

They face their 1994 Grand Final opponents, the Bulldogs, on Saturday night. Unlike those days of yore, the early nineties, Canterbury are now running last. However, the loss of a further three players to Origin means Canberra will be missing seven regular first graders. So it doesn't get any easier for the Raiders.

It is too early in the season to be bringing out the term, "must win". But it is crucial that the Raiders win games against the teams below them if they're to stay in touch with the top four. I'm not sure they can do it on Saturday night, but I hope they can.

***

The Canberra Raiders Jersey Flegg team also face the Bulldogs on Saturday. Unfortunately, they won't be playing at Stadium Australia - but you can still catch them at Belmore Sports Ground from 1:30pm, leaving plenty of time to get to Sydney Olympic Park for the NRL clash. The Flegg competition has been on hiatus for the past two weeks, but the Raiders were in very good form prior to the break, moving up to fourth place. The Bulldogs are in eighth, so it should be a good clash.

The Canberra Raiders NSW Cup affiliate, Mounties head to the picturesque North Sydney Oval on Sunday, for a meeting with the Bears. Mounties are still placed first, but lost heavily last week to the Bulldogs. They'll be missing some of the Raiders' regulars, given the injuries and Origin duties impacting the NRL team. But they've still named a strong side, and they'll want to avoid another slip up against the third placed Bears.

Round 8 of the Canberra Raiders Cup is headlined by at top four clash at Seiffert between the Queanbeyan Blues and Tuggeranong Bushrangers. There are four good games on Saturday, so if you're not heading to Sydney, make sure you get out to a local ground. If you can't, you can watch the CRRL feature match between the Gungahlin Bulls and Goulburn Bulldogs on line 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 match against the Cowboys. Let us know if you agree with the ratings... or not!

Total points

Josh Papalii 81
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 79
Jack Wighton 78
Elliott Whitehead 75
Josh Hodgson 74
Sia Soliola 73
Jarrod Croker 72
Nick Cotric 70
Ryan Sutton 70
Siliva Havili 65
Dunamis Lui 59
John Bateman 59
Sam Williams 53
Corey Horsburgh 49
Joey Leilua 47
Hudson Young 42
Jordan Rapana 40
Bailey Simonsson 28
Michael Oldfield 23
Joe Tapine 17
Aidan Sezer 12
Jack Murchie 6
Emre Guler 5
JJ Collins 4
Sebastian Kris 2

Average points per match

John Bateman 7.4
Josh Papalii 7.4
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 7.2
Jack Wighton 7.1
Elliott Whitehead 6.8
Josh Hodgson 6.7
Joey Leilua 6.7
Sia Soliola 6.6
Jarrod Croker 6.5
Nick Cotric 6.4
Ryan Sutton 6.4
Corey Horsburgh 6.1
Aidan Sezer 6.0
Jack Murchie 6.0
Siliva Havili 5.9
Sam Williams 5.9
Michael Oldfield 5.8
Jordan Rapana 5.7
Bailey Simonsson 5.6
Dunamis Lui 5.4
Hudson Young 5.3
Emre Guler 5.0
Joe Tapine 4.3
JJ Collins 4.0
Sebastian Kris 2.0

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » June 2, 2019, 11:49 am

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"Every two points at the moment with so many players out are very, very valuable. Tonight, the effort and the energy that we played with was probably the reason we won. It kept us in there. We sustained a couple of sets, a small period of play at the start of the second half, where we fell out of the game a little bit. But we sustained a healthy energy and attitude for the game for the whole 80 minutes. Tonight, I knew it was going to be needed. I knew the Dogs weren't going to be out of it at half time.

That was a team effort tonight. There wasn't a bad player on the field for us and that's what's needed at the moment, with a lot of our talent out... Having the Englishmen has been wonderful for the club and their experience has probably been very valuable for the younger boys now learning how to play first grade. The four or five young kids who haven't got double figures in first grade games. Winning is important, winning is going to help them learn how to win.

I have had a real focus on trying to recruit players who have been winners – playing in winning teams and winning competitions. Elliott has been a winner, John has been a winner with Wigan, they have played Test matches and won. They are the best education for your younger players and they are good for our squad. But the win at all costs, whatever it takes attitude is very healthy. But I'm not getting excited. We've had a tough month and we need to go again."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.


Round 12 2019. Canberra Raiders 12 - Canterbury Bulldogs 10. It was a grinding, ugly game and an ugly win for the Raiders. But with six regular first graders unavailable, three due to injury, three to Origin duty, the most important thing was the two competition points. The Raiders have played better this season, much better, and still lost the match. But the most critical thing over the next month or so, while the team is so disrupted, is that the Raiders keep adding to the competition points tally.



The Bulldogs were poor for most of the game, regularly producing errors just when they looked ready to take an opportunity. They just kept handing the ball over to the Raiders during the first half. But Canberra didn't take full advantage. The Raiders came with a tactic of kicking to the try line and batting the ball back, to create a second phase. But that didn't quite come off - until Michael Oldfield batted back a ball for Sebasitan Kris to score his very first NRL try. And then John Bateman showed his class, soccering the ball to the try line, and getting his hand to it in the corner, grounding it for an inspirational four pointer.

But the Raiders didn't score a single try in the second half. The Bulldogs took the momentum for a brief period around the 60 minute mark, scoring two tries in the space of five minutes - and suddenly it was level, 10-10. It was hard not to think... "here we go again". But the Raiders steadied, and a great one on one strip by Jarrod Croker gave Canberra its chance. A penalty for an illegal strip on Corey Horsburgh followed, virtually in front, gifting Jarrod Croker two points. And in the end, that proved to be the difference.



Stats that mattered? The Raiders had a 51 per cent possession share, but the Bulldogs posted the better attacking statistics. They made more runs (222-183), running metres (1922-1707), post contact metres (569-511), kick return metres (569-511), metres per set (46.9-44.9) and line breaks (3-2). The only area where the Raiders outpointed the Bulldogs in attack was tackle breaks (25-19). The Raiders had the clearly better completion rate (87-78 per cent); errors (9-9) and penalties conceded (5-5) were level.

The Raiders made more kicking metres (641-590), reflecting the fact the Raiders kicked more. Canberra produced eight bombs, the Bulldogs five, while grubbers were fairly even (5-4). The biggest difference in the kicking game was that the Bulldogs forced three line drop outs.

Despite the attacking statistics, the Raiders looked comfortable when defending for much of the game. There were some poor choices in defence when the Dogs scored their tries. But Canberra only conceded 10 points. The Raiders made more tackles (394-364), missed fewer tackles (19-25) and made fewer ineffective tackles (14-18). Canberra's effective tackle rate was over 92 per cent (89 per cent for the Bulldogs). For the most part, the Raiders also looked comfortable in defusing the Dogs' kicks (79 per cent kick defusal rate, 62 per cent for the Bulldogs).

Memorable moments? We've already covered the Raiders two tries. Seb Kris will always remember his try, his first in the NRL. John Bateman's try was quite special, particularly when you consider it was his first game back from a fractured eye socket, well ahead of schedule. Poor Bailey Simonsson probably thought he had the try, but Bateman somehow got his hand on the ball first.

There were two memorable moments in defence. In the 31st minute, Bulldogs winger Christian Crichton surged to the try line - but Sebastian Kris and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad showed great determination to stop him, and hold him up. Then in the final minute, the Bulldogs were desperately attacking. Kieran Foran swept the ball to the left and Marcello Montoya charged down the sideline. Then came the moment of the match, when Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad lined him up, hitting him in a beautiful tackle and taking him over the sideline. It was a stunning tackle, a match saver. And it was great to see how pumped Nicoll-Klokstad was!

Best performers?

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. 25 runs for 296 metres, 81 kick return metres, 68 post contact metres, one line break, five tackle breaks, six kicks defused.

John Bateman. One try, 12 runs for 120 metres, 44 post contact metres, two tackle breaks, two offloads, 32 tackles, 94.1 per cent tackle efficiency

Corey Horsburgh. 15 runs for 119 metres, 37 post contact metres, two offloads, 35 tackles.

Top tacklers: Elliott Whitehead 46, Siliva Havili 40, Corey Horsburgh 35
Most metres gained: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 296, Bailey Simonsson 184, Michael Oldfield 134

John Bateman (120) and Corey Horsburgh (119) broke the 100 metre mark in the forwards.

My player ratings:

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 8
Bailey Simonsson 6
Jarrod Croker 5
Sebastian Kris 7
Michael Oldfield 6
Aidan Sezer 6
Sam Williams 6
Corey Horsburgh 7
Siliva Havili 7
Dunamis Lui 6
Joe Tapine 6
Elliott Whitehead 7
John Bateman 8

Hudson Young 6
Tom Starling 5
Sia Soliola 5
Ryan Sutton 6

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » June 5, 2019, 5:51 pm

Through green eyes: Mid term report card

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It is difficult to believe... but the Canberra Raiders are now at the mid point of their season. I suspect that if Raiders fans were offered a seven and five start at the beginning of the season... most would have grabbed that deal. Yet here we are, at the mid point, with precisely that record.

The Raiders are fairly well placed on the ladder, in fifth on points differential - level with the Newcastle Knights on 14 competition points, with a bye in hand. Only three teams have more wins than Canberra. The start to the season was absolutely outstanding. After the opening two months, the Raiders were running third - and had lost just two matches.

It was just reward for the hard work in the off season on two things - defence and game management.

The Raiders' line speed, intensity in defence and work in the rucks improved significantly on the past two seasons. So much so, that today they have the second best defensive record in the competition, conceding just 15 points per game. That's below the 16 point benchmark that the genuine premiership contenders aim to achieve.

Coach Ricky Stuart has taken a leaf out of the Roosters and Storm playbooks in this department. One downside of that is that the officials have increasingly scrutinised the Raiders - with plenty of off side and ruck penalties being conceded. I don't think the Raiders are doing anything that the Roosters and Storm don't do... but the Raiders are now the second most penalised team in the league, after the Panthers. There's not much the Raiders can do about that, however, apart from adjust as best they can - without losing the intensity in defence.

Then there is game management. That's improved significantly as well. The Raiders record in close matches in recent years has been poor, to say the least. The Raiders ended the 2018 season with eight losses by four points or less, and five losses by two points or less. The season started with three last gasp losses in a row by two points or less, less than a converted try in aggregate. Something had to be done. The club brought in a sports psychologist. They practised for the clutch situations, under fatigue, in the off season. And that has clearly paid off.

Three games have been iced with field goals. The Raiders couldn't kick a single field goal in 2017 and kicked three in the whole of 2018. The Raiders' kicking game is also much more aggressive. They are now ranked first in the league for kicking metres (third last in 2018), with the Raiders aiming to control games with long kicks (now second in the league). They were ranked last in 2018 for forced line drop outs - and have now produced 21, almost as many as last year in total. They lead the league for 40/20 kicks, with three. Those are tactics that win finals matches.

In the past six weeks, Canberra has won just twice, as injuries have hit hard. At one stage, the Raiders were missing their entire first choice right edge. Canberra had eight regular first graders out against the Bulldogs, due to a combination of injury and Origin duties. Joey Leilua is likely out for the season, while Josh Hodgson, John Bateman, Jordan Rapana and Joe Tapine have all suffered significant injuries. It is little wonder some losses have come - though there have also been a couple of off days.

The Raiders have not won in any of their matches against the so-called "big three", the Storm, the Roosters and the Rabbitohs. They were not really in the contest with the Storm. They came within six points of the Roosters, coming from well behind after starting poorly. And they only lost narrowly, by four points, in a wonderful performance against the Rabbitohs.

The Raiders are now well placed to mount a challenge in the second half of the season. They will first need to get through the next month or so, with the team disrupted by Origin, injury and suspension. But if they can, the team has potential to build, once they start getting players back. They will still have work to do, to challenge the "big three". But there are reasons to be confident they can do so.

Recruitment and retention is not the least of those reasons. I rated the Raiders recruitment and retention a "C" at the start of the season. How wrong I was. Releasing Junior Paulo and Shannon Boyd - and transitioning to a more mobile forward pack has been a critical part of the Raiders shift to a new style of football.

English forward recruit John Bateman has been outstanding, the best buy of 2019 in the whole competition. His energy and intensity in attack and defence lifts the whole team. Fellow Englishman Ryan Sutton has also grown as the season has gone on, so much so, I'd like to see him starting at prop. Then there are the young forwards like Corey Horsburgh and Hudson Young who have stepped up, filling the void left by some injured players.

Challenging Bateman for "buy of the year" is fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. He joined the Raiders from the Warriors just before the start of the season - and he's been a revelation. His arrival allowed Jack Wighton to move to five eighth - who has developed so rapidly in the role that he's earned his first Blues jersey.

That "C" is starting to look an awful lot like an "A".

***

That's the big picture. Here's my mid term Canberra Raiders report card.

Attack: The Raiders finished 2018 with the second best attacking record in the competition - but they ended up at 10th on the ladder. At present, they rank sixth in attack, scoring an average 20 points (3.2 tries) per match. That compares to the benchmark team, the Storm, who score over 25 points (4.2 tries) per match. The Raiders rank ninth for try assists (2.4 per game, 3.7 for the Roosters).

The Raiders also rank ninth for running metres gained - with 1405 metres gained per match, compared with 1464 metres for the first ranked Storm. They rank 11th for line breaks (3.8 per game, compared with 5.5 for the first ranked Warriors) and 12th for tackle breaks (24 per game, 29 for the Knights). Compared to 2018, the Raiders have tumbled down the rankings for all these indicators.

Canberra is playing a much more controlled attacking game in 2019, aiming to win the middle first. There is less risky passing and there's a continued focus on dummy half running. The Raiders rank 12th for offloads (7.8 per game, 12.5 for the Sharks) and last for general play passes (71 per game, 113 for the Sharks). The Raiders rank first for dummy half runs (over 12 per game) and fifth for one pass hit ups (78 per game, 82 for the Rabbitohs). The Raiders rank third for least errors (10 per game, Bulldogs 9.1). The result is a completion rate of 78 per cent, ranked third in the league, and just below the benchmark of 79 per cent (Bulldogs, Cowboys).

The counterpoint to fewer metres gained with the ball in hand - is the big lift in just about every kicking statistic. I've gone through those numbers earlier. But don't forget them. It is part and parcel of the Raiders' shift in style.

While the attack is more controlled, it is also less well oiled than it has been. Coach Ricky Stuart emphasised it was not something the team had focussed on in the pre season. The focus was defence. Probably nothing encapsulates that shift in focus more than the score line last week against the Bulldogs. The Raiders won 12-10. They have not won by scoring 12 points or less since 1989.

But it is something the team will need to improve upon in the second half of the year. The Raiders attack of the past few seasons has relied on the individual brilliance of the outside backs, rather than the halves creating points. This year, the strike of the backs has been impacted by the loss of Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana to injury, while Nick Cotric's form has been a little down. That's reflected in the drop down the rankings in points scored and and in line and tackle breaks. With Leilua out for the rest of the year, and Josh Hodgson on the sideline for a while yet, others will need to lift if the attack is to improve.

Defence: As mentioned, the Raiders rank second for least points conceded, an average of 15 points (2.5 tries) per game. That compares with 13 points (2.1 tries) conceded per game by the Storm. Canberra now ranks fifth for running metres conceded (1379 metres per game, 1243 for the Storm) - after ranking even better earlier in the season. I think the drop in that department partly reflects the crack down from the officials on the Raiders' line speed. Canberra ranks seventh for line breaks conceded (4.3 per game, 2.3 for the Storm) - so that reflects pretty well on the Raiders' scramble. The line breaks are not translating directly into tries. Canberra ranks eighth for fewest missed tackles (24.2 per game), but that's not translating into tries either.

Spine: Jack Wighton and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad have been the stars in the spine, both exceeding expectations about how quickly they would grow into their roles. Josh Hodgson has been the professional, as always, lifting his kicking game this season to boot. He probably has the tendency to overplay his hand in the red zone, but he's certainly going to be missed while he's on the sideline.

Sam Williams appears to have won the battle with Aidan Sezer for the No. 7 jersey. Sezer versus Williams has been one of the most debated topics amongst the fans this year. For mine, they offer different things, but overall there's not much difference between the two. Sezer has the better defence, while Williams organises the attack better. However, given the Raiders appear to have signed half George Williams from Wigan for next season, it looks like coach Ricky Stuart is aiming to upgrade his stocks in the halves. It is needed.

Best performer: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Forwards: It is a more mobile pack and they've performed well as a unit, despite the loss of key players to injury at times. Josh Papalii and Elliott Whitehead have continued to show their class in the forwards, while young forwards, Ryan Sutton, Corey Horsburgh and Hudson Young have stepped up - helping to cover the loss of Joe Tapine, who's spent much of the season on the sideline. For mine the most influential forward and best performer is new recruit John Bateman. You could perhaps assess his impact best when he was not on the field with a fractured eye socket. What an impact he made on his return to the field last week. He just pips Josh Papalii as my best performer, who has also been outstanding.

Best performer: John Bateman

Backs: The depth in the backs has been tested, with the loss of Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana to injury. New recruit Bailey Simonsson has grown in the wing position, while Michael Oldfield always steps up to do the job when required. Jarrod Croker's form has probably been a bit down, and he'll be looking for a stronger second half to the season. Nick Cotric has also been a shade off his best, but he's still playing well enough to force his way into the New South Blues team. He's looked best when shifted to centre this year, and he'll need to continue in that vein to compensate for the loss of Leilua.

Best performer: Nick Cotric

Mid term report card:

Attack: B
Defence: A
Spine: B
Forwards: A
Backs: C

Overall: B+

***

This Friday night, the Raiders play their first match at the new Western Sydney Stadium - built on the site of the old Parramatta Stadium. I can't wait to see it. It looks amazing. The Raiders face a big challenge up against the Wests Tigers, in their first "home" game at the venue. The Green Machine is heavily impacted by injury, suspension and State of Origin duty. They must win matches like this, if they're to maintain touch with the three leading teams. The Wests Tigers are no pushover, as teams like the Melbourne Storm will attest. And the Tigers will field some "bogey" players for the Raiders, veterans Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah. It is a very difficult match to tip, but I'm going with the Raiders in a close one.

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Don't forget, if you're going to game, come along to the pre game meet up for Raiders fans at the Woolpack Hotel from 5pm, which has been organised by long standing member of The Greenhouse, Kenrick Winchester. Register for the event on The Greenhouse Facebook page and share it with your Raiders friends! All the details are at the link!

***

The Canberra Raiders Jersey Flegg team also face the Wests Tigers - on Saturday afternoon at Campbelltown Stadium. It's part of a double header, with the Canberra Raiders NSW Cup affiliate, Mounties facing the Western Suburbs Magpies. Both the Raiders and Mounties are towards the top of the ladder - so get out and support them if you're in Sydney.

***

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 Bulldogs. Let us know if you agree with the ratings... or not!

Total points

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 87
Elliott Whitehead 82
Josh Papalii 81
Jack Wighton 78
Sia Soliola 78
Jarrod Croker 77
Ryan Sutton 76
Josh Hodgson 74
Siliva Havili 72
Nick Cotric 70
John Bateman 67
Dunamis Lui 65
Sam Williams 59
Corey Horsburgh 56
Hudson Young 48
Joey Leilua 47
Jordan Rapana 40
Bailey Simonsson 34
Michael Oldfield 29
Joe Tapine 23
Aidan Sezer 18
Sebastian Kris 9
Jack Murchie 6
Emre Guler 5
Tom Starling 5
JJ Collins 4

Average points per match

John Bateman 7.4
Josh Papalii 7.4
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 7.3
Jack Wighton 7.1
Elliott Whitehead 6.8
Josh Hodgson 6.7
Joey Leilua 6.7
Sia Soliola 6.5
Jarrod Croker 6.4
Nick Cotric 6.4
Ryan Sutton 6.3
Corey Horsburgh 6.2
Aidan Sezer 6.0
Jack Murchie 6.0
Siliva Havili 6.0
Sam Williams 5.9
Michael Oldfield 5.8
Jordan Rapana 5.7
Bailey Simonsson 5.7
Dunamis Lui 5.4
Hudson Young 5.3
Emre Guler 5.0
Tom Starling 5.0
Joe Tapine 4.6
Sebastian Kris 4.5
JJ Collins 4.0

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by The Rickman » June 6, 2019, 10:57 am

Good writeup, Ferg.

Looking forward to the special "Behind Maroon Eyes" writeup too!!
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » June 8, 2019, 9:00 am

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"I'm a coach that believes and works hard in having the right mentality and attitude … game plans are important but not as much as attitude. You can't defend like that if you haven't got the right attitude and the will to play for each other."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.


Round 13 2019. Canberra Raiders 28 - Wests Tigers 0. The Canberra Raiders produced an outstanding performance on their first visit to the new Western Sydney Stadium. They were tested by injury and suspension, by Origin players forced to back up, 48 hours after they played last. Four regular first graders were unavailable - Josh Hodgson, Joey Leilua, Corey Horsburgh and Hudson Young. Three Origin players backed up. Josh Papalii was one of Queensland's leading forwards, yet he produced again, off the bench instead of in his usual starting role. Jack Wighton was seeking redemption after the Blues' loss, while Nick Cotric was under an injury cloud. They both delivered.



The match was played in greasy conditions, with rain prior to the game and at some stages during the match. Canberra played the perfect match for those conditions. Their defence was, as the scoreboard attests, just about perfect. The Raiders held a third team scoreless this season - the first time that has happened in the Raiders' history. If Canberra wasn't smashing the Tigers in their own half, they were taking them over the sideline in the corner or holding them up over the line. The Raiders have intense defence in 2019, and that was just about as good as they have delivered all year.

The kicking game was pretty darn good too. The Wests Tigers decided to put up high bomb after high bomb. It produced no results. The Raiders had a 100 per cent kick defusal rate. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. Remember how he looked tentative in the trials under the high ball? He defuses bombs now, with apparent ease. The Raiders decided to kick low, to grubber. And that was the tactic that paid off. The soccer skills were on display, not just from the Englishmen, John Bateman and Elliott Whitehead. Nick Cotric got into the act, clipping the ball with his heel to set up a try for Jordan Rapana.



Ricky Stuart brought in Aidan Sezer at half, dropping Sam Williams. He explained that last week, the Bulldogs had targeted Williams, forcing him to make over 30 tackles, while Sezer had half the defensive work. Ricky Stuart's late switch worked. Sezer scored the final try, a long range intercept. His kicking probably could have been better, with two kicks over the dead ball line. But his defence was solid, missing just two tackles, while last week Williams missed four. Stuart knows what he's getting from both Williams and Sezer - and as he said, later, he now has the ability to pick and choose.

It'd be remiss of me not to mention the atmosphere at Western Sydney Stadium created by the travelling Raiders crowd. The Raiders didn't just win on the field last night. They won in the stands too. If the crowd wasn't 50-50, it certainly felt like it down in the south east corner. The Raiders fans sang as the Tigers fans left. They produced Viking Clap after Viking Clap in the final stages. They chanted all night. It was a privilege to take part in an outstanding new stadium. The messages from coach Ricky Stuart in his post match press conferences have on point all season in 2019. Rightly, last night, he highlighted what a stadium like the Western Sydney Stadium would do for the city of Canberra.

Stats that mattered? The Raiders had a 53 per cent possession share, on the basis of an 83 per cent completion rate (73 per cent for the Tigers). Though the Raiders conceded more penalties (6-3), the Tigers made more errors (13-9) - and a lot of those were forced by ferocious tackling from Canberra. The Raiders produced more runs (190-178), running metres (1841-1384), post contact metres (447-317), kick return metres (199-95), metres per set (43.9-34.6) and line breaks (3-1). The Tigers made more tackle breaks (25-20) and offloads (7-3). The Raiders made more kicking metres (774-730), but the Raiders kicked a lot more (33-22). Both teams forced one line drop out.

The Tigers made many more tackles than the Raiders (438-340) and had the better effective tackle rate (95 per cent, compared with 89 per cent for the Raiders). Canberra produced more missed tackles (26-20) and ineffective tackles (16-4). But of course, the most important defensive statistic was "zero". The Raiders' scramble to cover any defensive errors really has been outstanding this year. And no statistic is able to sum up defensive intensity. The Raiders had that in spades last night.

Memorable moments? Normally, we wouldn't be too enthralled by tries from kicks. Last night, we marvelled at the kicking skills which led to tries. There was the first try that Elliott Whitehead set up with a kick for Bailey Simonsson. Then there was the try on half time, with John Bateman kicking ahead, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad gathering the ball up, and then passing back to Bateman for four points. That would have been soul destroying for the Tigers. There were also great tries for Croker and Sezer, through good old fashioned running. But the best try was one I mentioned earlier. In the 36th minute, Aidan Sezer made a break, kicked ahead... and then Cotric brilliantly kicked again for a Rapana try. Stunning stuff!

There were some great tackles from the Raiders right through the game. Sutton and Havilii produced some beauties. But I want to highlight Bailey Simonsson. He was great in defence on the wing. Two stick in the memory. In the 25th minute, he lined up David Nofoaluma as he surged towards the try line, but he wrapped him up, ball and all, one on one, and bundled him over the sideline. Then in the 35th minute, the Tigers made a break through Corey Thompson, and the attack was rampaging. They sent the ball wide to Esan Marsters and he looked certain to score. But again, Simonsson produced a great tackle, stopping the ball, stopping the man, and held him up over the line. Try saver!

Best performers?

Ryan Sutton. 19 runs for 163 metres, 40 post contact metres, 16 hit ups, three dummies, 47 tackles, 96 per cent tackle efficiency.

John Bateman. One try, 13 runs for 124 metres, 36 post contact metres, three tackle breaks, one offload, 35 tackles, two grubbers for 11 metres.

Bailey Simonsson. One try, 23 runs for 195 metres, 56 post contact metres, one tackle break, nine tackles, some of the best you'll see from a winger, two kicks defused.

I feel sorry to leave out the likes of Josh Papalii, backing up from Origin, with 17 runs for 179 metres, 58 post contact metres and 16 tackles - as well as Jack Wighton, Aidan Sezer and Jarrod Croker. There really wasn't a bad player on the field for the Raiders.

Top tacklers: Ryan Sutton 47, Elliott Whitehead 37, Siliva Havili 36, John Bateman 35
Most metres gained: Bailey Simonsson 195, Josh Papalii 179, Ryan Sutton 163, Jordan Rapana 162

My player ratings:

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 6
Bailey Simonsson 8
Jarrod Croker 7
Nick Cotric 6
Jordan Rapana 7
Jack Wighton 7
Aidan Sezer 7
Ryan Sutton 8
Siliva Havili 7
Sia Soliola 6
John Bateman 8
Elliott Whitehead 7
Joe Tapine 6

Josh Papalii 7
Dunamis Lui 7
Tom Starling 6
Emre Guler 5

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

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Through green eyes 2019

Post by gangrenous » June 8, 2019, 9:08 am

4 misses v 2 given the workload difference is par at worst.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by BadnMean » June 8, 2019, 11:00 am

gangrenous wrote:
June 8, 2019, 9:08 am
4 misses v 2 given the workload difference is par at worst.
Yes. If that was the only statistical measure of defence effectiveness. Or you could say Williams is bottom 3 (worst if you disregard players with a sample games of <4) in basically every defensive category.

Or you could use they eye test and see how often Sezer hit and stopped vs how often he was carried downfield 15m by his opponents vs the same for Williams.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by BadnMean » June 8, 2019, 11:03 am

Love the crowd description GE. Got tingles.

Even more excited to be visiting back to Oz for the Raiders v Eels match in Darwin in a few weeks. Great to see a live game again. Hopefully we can bring the noise in a similar way.

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gangrenous
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by gangrenous » June 8, 2019, 11:34 am

BadnMean wrote:
gangrenous wrote:
June 8, 2019, 9:08 am
4 misses v 2 given the workload difference is par at worst.
Yes. If that was the only statistical measure of defence effectiveness. Or you could say Williams is bottom 3 (worst if you disregard players with a sample games of <4) in basically every defensive category.

Or you could use they eye test and see how often Sezer hit and stopped vs how often he was carried downfield 15m by his opponents vs the same for Williams.
You could, but those things were not said. The implication of that paragraph is that the stat alone of 4 missed tackles versus 2 illustrates worse defence. It doesn’t.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by BadnMean » June 8, 2019, 12:49 pm

gangrenous wrote:
June 8, 2019, 11:34 am
BadnMean wrote:
gangrenous wrote:
June 8, 2019, 9:08 am
4 misses v 2 given the workload difference is par at worst.
Yes. If that was the only statistical measure of defence effectiveness. Or you could say Williams is bottom 3 (worst if you disregard players with a sample games of <4) in basically every defensive category.

Or you could use they eye test and see how often Sezer hit and stopped vs how often he was carried downfield 15m by his opponents vs the same for Williams.
You could, but those things were not said. The implication of that paragraph is that the stat alone of 4 missed tackles versus 2 illustrates worse defence. It doesn’t.
I may have missed the point. Carry on.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » June 8, 2019, 9:05 pm

I was just giving people the numbers. I did like the story Ricky Stuart told about leaving Sam out and his reaction... ie that he was dropped for making tackles... but he did have missed and ineffective tackles too against the Dogs. His reaction did show Sam's character, that he just makes a bit of a joke, knuckles down and accepts decisions and works in the best interests of the club and works hard to get back into the top squad.
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Through green eyes 2019

Post by gangrenous » June 8, 2019, 9:19 pm

You gave people those numbers without the appropriate context imo.

Like providing just the number of passes thrown by Havili and Starling without mentioning time on the field.

I did enjoy the Ricky story about dropping him also

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » June 11, 2019, 3:19 pm

Through green eyes: Time for six years of pain to end

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It has been more than six years since the Canberra Raiders have defeated the Cronulla Sharks at Canberra Stadium. A six game losing streak. Six years of pain.

It was particularly painful when the Raiders lost by just two points in Week 1 of the 2016 finals. The city of Canberra had caught Raiders fever once again. The Raiders were playing breathtaking, attacking football and finished second on the ladder. It was a sell out crowd of 25,592 and the atmosphere generated by the Viking Clap was extraordinary.

But at the end of the night, it was Sharks hooker Michael Ennis doing his own Viking Clap, mocking the home crowd. Sadly, the Raiders could not make the Grand Final that year, and the Sharks went on to win their first and only premiership.

The pain of that string of six losses was partly eased by the Canberra Raiders own five game winning streak at Shark Park. But that came to an end last year. So on Thursday night, it is time for some payback. Time for some revenge.

***

The last time that the Raiders beat the Sharks at Canberra Stadium was in 2012. It was probably the start of the current rivalry between the two teams. It was a perfect, blue skied afternoon. That was Week 1 of the finals as well. Canberra Stadium was sold out, a sea of green. And the Raiders put on a spectacle for the crowd of 24,450, playing... breathtaking, attacking football.





The Sharks were the first to score, after six minutes. But then Canberra turned it on. In the 19th minute, Josh McCrone set up a try for Sandor Earl in the corner. Then just minutes later, Canberra scored a try for the ages. Sam Williams made a break down the left side, before passing to a flying Jarrod Croker. The Sharks circled him, but he was able to put in a kick to the corner for Sandor Earl. It was perfection, falling into the hands of the winger, to score his second try. "Stop it, it's starting to hurt!" came the classic commentary from Ray Warren. "Rugby league! Rugby league!" It was simply scintillating.

Another highlight was how Josh Papalii took on Paul Gallen. A memorable hit just before half time rocked the Sharks captain - and led to a war of words after the match. After the match, Gallen claimed: "I don't really care about Papalii. He hit me with a dog shot with a swinging arm and once in the back without the ball. Other than that, I don't think there was too much to it."

But Papalii had his measure and had got under Gallen's skin as well.

"'Pappa' was matched up on 'Gal' and coach David Furner gave him a few words of encouragement to get it over him early in the game," David Shillington explained. "'Pappa' really stood up. He got under him a few times and Gal didn't handle it very well."

Canberra led 16-6 at half time, but the Sharks fought back. A Sharks try from a blatant forward pass in the 60th minute saw Canberra's lead cut to two points, 18-16. But then Canberra opened up again - scoring four magic tries in the final 15 minutes. The only down-side was that Jarrod Croker suffered a cheek bone fracture, after Jason Bukuya led with his knee in a tackle. The Raiders only scored three goals from eight attempts - with Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson missing four after Croker left the field. The Raiders could have put on 44 points.

***

Unfortunately, the brilliant, attacking football of 2012 and 2016 did not deliver the ultimate prize.

There have been lessons in the defeats handed out by the Sharks. Michael Ennis is now in the Raiders' camp, a coaching consultant. He has pointed out that the Sharks knew how to beat the Raiders. Hold on for dear life in defence, niggle, get in the grind, run Canberra's big forward pack around and wait for them to tire... and then come over the top of the Raiders at the back end of the game.

Some of the victories that the Raiders have had over the Sharks in the past six years have also pointed the way. They were games when the defence was brutal and desperate. When the Raiders were prepared to get in the grind. Remember the match at Shark Park in 2017, when Josh Papalii was put in the sin bin for a professional foul? The Raiders barely let the Sharks touch the ball in those 10 minutes, and put on three penalty goals. That's the sort of thing that's needed to beat Cronulla. That's the sort of thing that's needed to win finals matches too.

And that's why Ricky Stuart has transformed the Raiders' style of play in 2019. The team now has a mobile forward pack. The focus is on defence. The team has a controlled style of attack, with the team aiming to win in the middle of the park first. The Raiders now know what game management means. They kick more and get more kicking metres than every other team.

And that has resulted in the sort of win we saw at Western Sydney Stadium on Friday night against the Wests Tigers. A third match this season, when the Raiders held the opposition to zero.

If the Raiders play like that on Thursday night, they can get some revenge for those six long years of pain.

***

Last week, we went through a lot of the statistics for the team in the mid year report card. Here's a few interesting statistics for some of the Raiders' players.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad did not play a single NRL match in 2018. Today, no player in the NRL has made more runs (241) or more running metres (2664) than Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad in 2019. Not James Tedesco, not Ken Maumalo, not Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Two of those players were the players who kept him playing in NSW Cup last year. Sure, Tedesco (180), David Klemmer (176), Maumalo (174) have made more metres per game, while Tuivasa-Sheck has made just as many (174). But that's still a remarkable feat for a player who had just seven NRL appearances before joining the Raiders. He also leads the competition for kick return metres (844), ahead of Jahrome Hughes (740) and James Tedesco (675). And by the way, CNK also ranks third in the league for tackle breaks (56), behind only Tedesco (84) and the Dragons' Jordan Pereira (64).

Jarrod Croker's had a few critics of late, of his goal kicking and defence. Guess who is third on the top point scorers list? Yep, Jarrod Croker (five tries, 45 goals, 110 points). He's behind only Latrell Mitchell (eight tries, 43 goals, 119 points) and Kaylyn Ponga (seven tries, 44 goals and 116 points). That is despite the fact that the Raiders rank seventh in attack (based on points scored per match). Only Adam Reynolds (49) and Camerson Smith (45) have kicked more goals - with the Storm (51) and Rabbitohs (50) scoring the most tries in the league (Raiders rank sixth on 43). Sure, Croker would like to lift his percentage (76 per cent, compared with 80 per cent for the two leaders). But a couple of extra goals and he'd be at that rate. Here's one extra stat: Croker ranks equal third for last line of defence tackles.

Finally, would it surprise you if I told you that Elliott Whitehead leads the league for turnover tackles? He does, with 17. The Cowboys' Gavin Cooper ranks second with 10.

***

I can't say I'm a great fan of Thursday night football. You wake up the morning after the game and the weekend still hasn't even started! But there are other games to see on Saturday and Sunday! If you're in Sydney, you can see the Canberra Raiders NSW Cup affiliate, Mounties take on the Sharks' feeder team, the Newtown Jets on Saturday afternoon at Aubrey Keech. And if you're in Canberra, you can get along to Raiders Belconnen to see the Raiders face the Sharks in Jersey Flegg on Sunday afternoon. I know it is difficult logistically for these teams to play on a Thursday night, but its a shame one of the games couldn't have been part of a double header with the Raiders NRL match.

There are also some great clashes in Round 9 of the Canberra Raiders Cup on Saturday. If you love your suburban grounds, the Canberra Raiders Cup has that in spades!

***

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 Tigers. Let us know if you agree with the ratings... or not!

Total points

Josh Papalii 95
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 93
Jack Wighton 90
Elliott Whitehead 89
Jarrod Croker 84
Ryan Sutton 84
Sia Soliola 84
Nick Cotric 82
Siliva Havili 79
John Bateman 75
Josh Hodgson 74
Dunamis Lui 72
Sam Williams 59
Corey Horsburgh 56
Hudson Young 48
Joey Leilua 47
Jordan Rapana 47
Bailey Simonsson 42
Joe Tapine 29
Michael Oldfield 29
Aidan Sezer 25
Tom Starling 11
Emre Guler 10
Sebastian Kris 9
Jack Murchie 6
JJ Collins 4

Average points per match

John Bateman 7.5
Josh Papalii 7.3
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 7.2
Jack Wighton 6.9
Elliott Whitehead 6.8
Josh Hodgson 6.7
Joey Leilua 6.7
Jarrod Croker 6.5
Ryan Sutton 6.5
Sia Soliola 6.5
Nick Cotric 6.3
Aidan Sezer 6.3
Corey Horsburgh 6.2
Siliva Havili 6.1
Bailey Simonsson 6.0
Jack Murchie 6.0
Sam Williams 5.9
Jordan Rapana 5.9
Michael Oldfield 5.8
Dunamis Lui 5.5
Tom Starling 5.5
Hudson Young 5.3
Emre Guler 5.0
Joe Tapine 4.8
Sebastian Kris 4.5
JJ Collins 4.0

*Points for the Raiders Origin representatives were awarded for Origin I and are incorporated.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » June 14, 2019, 12:26 pm

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"It was a very tough, hard game. We worked hard to get the field position, we worked hard to get that momentum. Games turn that way, sometimes you get into a grind, sometimes one opposition team has a lot of momentum. Same thing happened against the Storm where they had that momentum on us, same thing against the Roosters... and we fought our way back into both of those games. The game is a bit about momentum, the game is about trying to keep it. Sometimes you have momentum and you don’t turn into points, tonight we did, and it helped us win... We knew they were going to come back, they’re too good a team and too experienced [not to]. They've got a lot of good footy players in that team. It was always going to need to be an 80 minute performance."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.


Round 14 2019. Canberra Raiders 22 - Cronulla Sharks 20. This was a match that the Raiders of 2018 probably would have lost. The Raiders raced to a 20-0 lead after 25 minutes, scoring three tries... before conceding four and 20 points in the space of 25 minutes. The main positive for the Green Machine was that they took back the lead, through a penalty goal, and defended it for the final quarter of the game. That would not have happened in 2018.



Everything went the Raiders' way in that first 25 minutes. The Raiders had all the possession and territory. The Sharks made four errors and conceded five straight penalties. And Canberra took advantage. It was probably going to be the case that possession would swing the other way. I'll say something about the refereeing in a bit. But there is no avoiding the fact that the Raiders' defence was not up to the standard they've set in other matches this year. There were certainly problems on the Raiders' left edge. The Sharks repeatedly sent the play down that side of the field, and players were caught out of position or made the wrong reads. That's going to need some work - because other teams will also seek to take advantage.

The Raiders fans at the ground were obviously dissatisfied with the refereeing. There were a couple of poor calls from the referees in the second half, when penalties really should have gone the Raiders way. Both involved Aidan Sezer. In one tackle, there was contact with the head, and he copped a poke in the eye in the process, but no action was taken. In another, Andrew Fifita put a shoulder charge on him, and then whacked him with a forearm to the head, while he lay on the ground. It produced a huge "dust up" - and the result was that Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was penalised for being the "third man in". It was an extraordinary decision. It is no wonder the fans become frustrated when decisions like that are taken.

I don't think that the refereeing "cost" one team or the other in the end. I believe the Sharks came to Canberra Stadium with their "old game plan". That plan involves lots of niggle in the rucks, with the aim of slowing the play the ball, and either standing off side or moving off the defensive line early. It is tough for officials when teams deliberately cheat in this way. But eventually, they stopped policing the Sharks' infringements - and that is what teams like the Sharks count on. Both teams probably got some "soft" penalties too. The referees often "reward" the team with momentum and that's what happened last night too.

It was a poorly officiated match. The positive for the Raiders is that they responded appropriately. They put their heads down and got on with the job, knowing that the officiating is out of their control. And to the Raiders' credit, they steadied and hung on. It wasn't pretty at times. The Raiders looked very disorganised in attack at some stages in the second half. Some of the fifth tackle options were poor. At one stage Jack Wighton's kick on the last went on the full by a long way. They've got some work to do.

But the other thing to remember is that the Raiders had four regular first grade players unavailable on the sidelines, while the Sharks were at full strength. The Raiders were coming off two short turnarounds and had three Origin players who've had a very tough schedule. And today, the Raiders sit third place on the ladder, with a nine and five record - and a bye in hand. They're well placed and that's the result of a season of hard work and hard fought wins.



Stats that mattered? The Raiders had almost 60 per cent of the ball in the first half, but that swung big time in the second. Canberra ended with a 51 per cent possession share and a 76 per cent completion rate (compared with a pretty ordinary 66 per cent for the Cronulla). The Sharks made more errors (14-11) and conceded more penalties (10-7). Cronulla was fortunate to only concede 10 penalties, really. The Raiders produced more runs (153-144), running metres (1302-1254), kick return metres (155-116) and metres per set (35.2-33). The Sharks made more tackle breaks (33-22), more post contact metres (350-339), and offloads (5-3). Both teams made three line breaks. Canberra produced more kicking metres (401-351), but that reflected a few more kicks (17-14). The Raiders forced three line drop outs, the Sharks nil.

Cronulla made more tackles (345-283) but had the better effective tackle rate (93.5 per cent, compared with 87.6 per cent for Canberra). The Raiders produced more missed tackles (33-22) and ineffective tackles (7-2). As I said, that's something to work on before the Raiders' trip to Darwin to meet the Eels.

Memorable moments? Jarrod Croker scored his 120th try for the Raiders, equalling the all time club record of Jason Croker. It was an incisive run to the try line, straight through the Sharks' defensive line. It's certainly one to remember. He might have had some issues in defence last night, but he produced some try savers too. Plus he kicked five goals from five attempts - which won the game - and grabbed an intercept right on full time to stop the Sharks last attacking raid.

Aidan Sezer scored a good try, the result of a good step. But the best try of the night for Canberra was the second, with Bailey Simonsson performing some amazing acrobatics to just score in the corner, with his legs suspended over the sideline. An absolute stunner.

How about Jack Wighton's critical forced line drop out? He might have kicked out on the full at one point, but his kicking often put the Sharks under pressure. With eight minutes remaining, the match on the line, Wighton produced a well weighted kick, followed it himself and produced a stunning tackle to force the line drop out.

Best performers?

Josh Papalii. 20 runs for 184 metres, 50 post contact metres, 16 hit ups, 20 tackles, 95 per cent tackle efficiency.

Jarrod Croker. One try, five goals, eight runs for 45 metres, one line break, one line break assist, one try assist, one tackle break, one intercept, 15 tackles.

Jack Wighton. 13 runs for 101 metres, one line break assist, one try assist, two tackle breaks, 12 tackles, seven kicks for 214 metres, two forced line drop outs.

Top tacklers: Siliva Havili 35, Sia Soliola 30, , Siliva Havili 36, Ryan Sutton 26, John Bateman 26, Elliott Whitehead 26, Dunamis Lui 26
Most metres gained: Josh Papalii 184, Joe Tapine 111, Bailey Simonsson 102, Jack Wighton 101

My player ratings:

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 5
Bailey Simonsson 7
Jarrod Croker 7
Nick Cotric 6
Jordan Rapana 5
Jack Wighton 7
Aidan Sezer 6
Josh Papalii 7
Siliva Havili 6
Ryan Sutton 6
John Bateman 7
Elliott Whitehead 7
Joe Tapine 6

Dunamis Lui 6
Tom Starling 4
Emre Guler 4
Sia Soliola 6

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

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by RedRaider » June 14, 2019, 11:40 pm

GE, can you take one off Sia and give it to Papa? Then can you take another off Sia and give it to Jack?
I generally like Sia but he had an off night imo. He came on about 30 minutes in and promptly drops the ball in the play the ball. The second half rolls around and Sia is caught on the last tackle about 30 meters from the Sharks line. Now I know the halves should have been organising a kick but that was a poor finish to the set. Worse was to come when Sia obstructs not one but two Sharks players to disallow a try to Jack. Not his finest in a tight match.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » June 15, 2019, 8:16 am

You’re right, 7 was too strong, so I’ve adjusted to a six. Sia put in a lot of defensive work, didn’t miss a tackle. I don’t think anyone was an 8 though. Even the strongest players were not at their best on Thursday.
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by RedRaider » June 15, 2019, 2:10 pm

I thought Papa was. A sensational fortnight he has had and then led the way in the yardage game against the niggle-a-minute Sharks. Tackle efficiency looks fantastic as well. Surely that's an 8 M8.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by Cranky Old Man » June 15, 2019, 8:08 pm

RedRaider wrote:
June 15, 2019, 2:10 pm
I thought Papa was. A sensational fortnight he has had and then led the way in the yardage game against the niggle-a-minute Sharks. Tackle efficiency looks fantastic as well. Surely that's an 8 M8.
I agree re Papa. Marvellous effort.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » June 27, 2019, 2:29 pm

Through green eyes: The times, they are a changin'

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2016. That was a whole lot of fun. It was the best season for the Canberra Raiders in more than 20 years.

The Raiders finished in second position on the ladder and made a Preliminary Final - and that was the first time that had happened since 1995.

Along the way, all sorts of records were broken. The Raiders won 10 matches in a row, the most in club history during a single season. They scored the most points ever in a season. It was the year of "Leipana" and that magic Joey Leilua flick pass. The attack was breathtaking at times.

Jarrod Croker broke the all time Raiders point scoring record; he scored more points than any other Raider in a single season. Jordan Rapana scored more tries than any other Raider in a single season.

But the Raiders missed a Grand Final appearance, just, losing by two points during the finals to both grand finalists, the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm.

We thought that the Raiders premiership window would come in 2017. It didn't.

After that 2016 campaign, Ricky Stuart knew the Raiders would have to evolve. They needed to get tougher if they were to beat the likes of the Sharks and the Storm. They needed to be better in defence.

Canberra ranked sixth in the league for least points conceded in 2016. They conceded an average of just over 18 points per match - compared with the benchmark set by the Storm of just over 12 points per match. The Raiders showed that they could defend with the best that year, but they were not quite good enough, not consistent enough.

The Raiders' evolution has taken much longer than anyone would have liked. Their defensive record actually deteriorated in the last couple of years. Only five teams conceded more points than the Raiders in 2017. They gave up an average 21 points per game. Things got even worse in 2018. They ranked 12th in the league in defence - and conceded an average 23 points per game.

But one statistic which came to light this week - thanks to David Polkinghorne of The Canberra Times - summed up how much the times have been changing.

The 2019 Raiders have conceded fewer points in the opening 14 rounds than any Raiders team since 1995.

They presently have the second best defence in the NRL, conceding 14 points per game - behind the Storm (12 per match).

Back in 1995, the Raiders had conceded 11 points per game after 14 rounds - which is quite extraordinary, really. Especially when you consider that 1995 team went on to concede an average 12 points per game and score an average 29 points per game during the regular season - slightly more than the 2016 team scored per game in the home and away rounds.

There is one stat where the 2019 Raiders have already outdone the 1995 Raiders. Back in 1995, the Raiders held the opposition scoreless just once - the classic Round 8, 26-0 defeat of the Brisbane Broncos. This year, the Raiders have done that three times - against the Titans, Tigers and this week's opponent, the Eels.

Let's hope they can outdo the 1995 Raiders in a couple of other ways... making the Grand Final, and maybe, just maybe, taking out the premiership we've been waiting for, for 25 years.

***

I've harped quite a bit in the past couple of years about how the Raiders need to improve two key aspects of their game - defence and game management.

They're on the right track in defence. There are some good stats which show they're on the right track in game management, too.

The Raiders have transformed their kicking game this year, in a bid to control the tempo of the their matches.

After 14 rounds, no team has kicked more than the Raiders in 2019 and they rank first for kicking metres. Not only that, they are in the top four for forced line drop outs and rank equal first for 40/20 kicks.

That's a huge turnaround from 2018, when the Raiders were third lowest in the NRL for kicking metres (380 per match, compared with 603 per match this year) and last for forced line drop outs.

If Bob Dylan were a Raiders fan, he'd be saying: "the times they are a changin'". And changing for the better.

***

The Raiders produced a very good 19-0 win over the Parramatta Eels earlier this year. But that was then, and this is now. It is going to be a tough challenge for the Raiders against the Eels this Saturday night, in the hot and humid climes of Darwin.



The Eels made the Broncos look second rate in their last outing, scoring seven tries in the process. The Raiders' defence went missing for a while in their last game against the Sharks - and they won't be able to afford to do that this week. The Eels will be stronger for the return of young five eighth Dylan Brown. But the Raiders also get back a key spine player - hooker Josh Hodgson. I think Hodgson trumps Brown.

The Raiders will need to bring their best defensive game and cut down the opportunities for the Eels' strike outside backs if they're to win. But they have shown they have that ability. I'm tipping the Raiders by eight.

***

If you can't make it to Darwin - and let's face it, most of us can't - there's still plenty of footy this weekend for those of you who are in Canberra and Sydney.

If you're in Sydney, you can see the Canberra Raiders NSW Cup affiliate, Mounties take on the Eels' feeder team, the Wentworthville Magpies on Sunday afternoon at Ringrose Park. It is a part of a two match program, with the Raiders Jersey Flegg team meeting the Eels in the warm up game.

And in capital territory, there are some great match-ups in Round 11 of the Canberra Raiders Cup. On Saturday, the Queanbeyan Blues face the West Belconnen Warriors in the match of the day at Seiffert Oval, while the Goulburn Bulldogs host the Tuggeranong Bushrangers in a top of the table clash on Sunday. Get out to a local ground! But if you can't, you can watch a live stream of the Blues V Warriors!



***

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 102
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 98
Jack Wighton 97
Elliott Whitehead 96
Jarrod Croker 91
Ryan Sutton 90
Sia Soliola 90
Nick Cotric 88
Siliva Havili 85
John Bateman 82
Dunamis Lui 78
Josh Hodgson 74
Sam Williams 59
Corey Horsburgh 56
Jordan Rapana 52
Bailey Simonsson 49
Hudson Young 48
Joey Leilua 47
Joe Tapine 35
Aidan Sezer 31
Michael Oldfield 29
Tom Starling 15
Emre Guler 14
Sebastian Kris 9
Jack Murchie 6
JJ Collins 4

Average points per match

John Bateman 7.5
Josh Papalii 7.3
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 7.0
Jack Wighton 6.9
Elliott Whitehead 6.9
Josh Hodgson 6.7
Joey Leilua 6.7
Jarrod Croker 6.5
Ryan Sutton 6.4
Sia Soliola 6.4
Nick Cotric 6.3
Corey Horsburgh 6.2
Aidan Sezer 6.2
Bailey Simonsson 6.1
Siliva Havili 6.1
Jack Murchie 6.0
Sam Williams 5.9
Michael Oldfield 5.8
Jordan Rapana 5.8
Dunamis Lui 5.6
Hudson Young 5.3
Joe Tapine 5.0
Tom Starling 5.0
Emre Guler 4.7
Sebastian Kris 4.5
JJ Collins 4.0

*Points for the Raiders Origin representatives were awarded for Origin I and are incorporated. Origin II is excluded due to the general bye.

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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by The Rickman » June 27, 2019, 2:43 pm

Good writeup, Ferg. Great to see some positivity in these parts.
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Re: Through green eyes 2019

Post by greeneyed » June 30, 2019, 12:33 pm

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"We only played for 30 minutes. That was our worst 50 minutes of football for years. You can't come out of the blocks and start like that for the first 30 minutes and play so well, we were very good at what we were doing, and then it was gone – it was nowhere to be seen.

We had to work hard for those points... we were very good, that first 30 minutes was some of our best football for the season. Parramatta also didn't let us play well – it wasn't just that we played bad. They jumped us in that last 10 minutes of the first half – and I know how and why – and then we couldn't correct it. It's got to come down to some individuals... If it's not fixed – we're wasting our time."

"You don't get to a 16-0 lead 30 minutes into a game of football and have that rot for the next 50. If you want to go for soft excuses, they'll be there. If you want to be fair dinkum, you want to be tough, you want to work to find out the real reasons and fix it, the season mightn't be all over. But if we want to deliver that kind of crap, we're wasting our time... It was our worst performance of the year."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.


Round 15 2019. Parramatta Eels 22 - Canberra Raiders 16. The Canberra Raiders played well against Parramatta Eels in Darwin for 35 minutes. The energy was good. They completion rates were good. The forwards were making big in roads in the middle. The kicking was outstanding and the Raiders controlled the territory and tempo of the game. Canberra was starting their sets on their 30 metre line, the Eels on their goal line. The Raiders scored three good tries. They then conceded 22 unanswered points. The Raiders repeatedly invited the Eels back into the contest. The completion rates went out of the window. There were some awful errors, silly penalties and soft tries conceded.



Ricky Stuart was in no mood for excuses after the match, which is exactly the right approach. The Raiders have had some travel nightmares this season - and they had another day of disrupted travel in getting to Darwin. They should have arrived close to midday on Thursday, but arrived close to midnight. That's frutstrating and it disrupts the preparation. It is surprisingly tiring. But a group of professional footballers should be able to overcome that.

The Raiders were disrupted in the first half, when Jordan Rapana was hit flush on the nose by a swinging arm from Peni Terepo in the 28th minute. There was blood everywhere and Rapana had to leave the field. Terepo should have been sin binned - but wasn't. In addition, the Raiders' bench forwards were not putting in the same quality as the starters. And then suddenly, the Eels took advantage, scoring two tries in the final five minutes. The Raiders had been dominant for 30 or 35 minutes, but took a narrow four point lead to the break.

The teams got into the grind in the second half, but it was the Raiders who cracked. The Canberra players looked gassed in the warm and humid conditions in the final stages. You could see their jerseys were wringing wet. The greasy ball contributed to the Raiders errors - but ultimately, the Raiders handed the match to the Eels because of them.

The Raiders had a chance to move into second place, but it was not to be. They are instead in fourth, level on 18 competition points with the Knights. The Raiders are still well placed, but they've got a lot of work to do if they're to hold on to a top four place. Hopefully, there were some lessons learned in Darwin.



Stats that mattered? The Raiders were completing and controlling possession well in the first half - while the Eels were making error after error. However, in the end, the Eels had a 51 per cent possession share - and a completion rate just a little lower than the Raiders (68 per cent, compared with 71 per cent for the Raiders). Neither coach would be happy with how their teams completed. Both teams made 13 errors, while the Eels were slightly less disciplined (conceded seven penalties, the Raiders five).

The Raiders made slightly more runs (201-193), but the Eels produced more running metres (1752-1592), post contact metres (489-461) and metres per set (42.7-37.9). The Eels were also slightly in front in tackle breaks (38-36), line breaks (5-4) and offloads (8-7). The Raiders made more kicking metres (648-516) and kicked more (22-18). The Raiders also forced three line drop outs to one for the Eels. Canberra also produced more kick return metres (215-134), thanks to Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

The Eels had the better effective tackle rate (88.8 per cent, compared with 87.6 per cent for the Raiders). The Raiders missed more tackles (38-36) and made more ineffective tackles (12-7).

Memorable moments? There were some good tries for the Raiders. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad opened the scoring with a brilliant individual run, stepping and slicing through the Eels' defensive line. The third was the best, however. Jack Wighton made a great break, setting up the next play - which culminated in Aidan Sezer kicking to the corner. It was perfectly placed, and Sebastian Kris took advantage, scoring his second NRL try. After that, there weren't really a lot of memorable moments for the Green Machine.

Best performers?

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. One try, 27 runs for 290 metres, 128 kick return metres, 57 post contact metres, one line break, five tackle breaks, one off load.

Josh Papalii. 14 runs for 142 metres, 56 post contact metres, one line break, three tackle breaks, 36 tackles, 94.7 per cent tackle efficiency.

Joe Tapine. 11 runs for 107 metres, 38 post contact metres, two tackle breaks, 27 tackles, 93.1 per cent tackle efficiency.

Jack Wighton produced some very impressive efforts... one try, 130 running metres, two line breaks, eight tackle breaks, 290 kicking metres from nine kicks, one forced line drop out. But his five errors proved to be very costly.

Top tacklers: Josh Hodgson 47, Josh Papalii 36, John Bateman 35.
Most metres gained: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 290, Bailey Simonsson 151, Josh Papalii 142.

My player ratings:

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 8
Bailey Simonsson 7
Jarrod Croker 4
Sebastian Kris 6
Jordan Rapana 6
Jack Wighton 5
Aidan Sezer 5
Josh Papalii 7
Josh Hodgson 6
Dunamis Lui 7
John Bateman 6
Elliott Whitehead 6
Joe Tapine 7

Siliva Havili 4
Corey Horsburgh 5
Sia Soliola 6
Ryan Sutton 6

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

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LastRaider
Brett Mullins
Posts: 1597
Joined: March 31, 2018, 9:30 pm

Through green eyes 2019

Post by LastRaider » June 30, 2019, 8:22 pm

GE, I think the ratings are spot on


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