Through green eyes 2020

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

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Through green eyes 2020

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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2020 Trial. Canberra Raiders 12 - Canterbury Bulldogs 10. It was a trial match. It was there to get rid of some cobwebs and test out some combinations. It was a bit of a trial to watch at times as well. The Raiders were definitely rusty and the handling from both teams was poor. Of course, we shouldn't expect too much of a match which carries no competition points and was the first of 2020 for one of the teams.



It was a "serious" trial, as far as trials go - with both teams essentially running their "A team" for 60 minutes. So there are probably some things we can learn from it.

The Raiders started slow and the Bulldogs put on all of their 10 points in the first 10 minutes. The first try showed that the new right side has some things to work on in defence. Corey Horsburgh was playing in the second row, covering for the injured John Bateman - while George Williams, Curtis Scott and Nick Cotric are the permanent new right edge. They jammed in just the fifth minute, leaving wide open spaces for the Bulldogs winger Jake Averillo. A long pass gave him an easy passage to the line. The second try, to Dylan Napa under the posts, was a little soft.

One plus was that the Raiders kept the Bulldogs scoreless for the remaining 70 minutes. The Bulldogs put pressure on with repeated, sky-high bombs from Lachlan Lewis - and they threatened a few times with the ball in hand. But the Raiders were able to shut them down. The Bulldogs were tenacious enough themselves, to come away with a 10-6 "win" while the A teams were on the field. The Bulldogs are not going to be wooden spooners, but I don't think they're a top eight side either - so it was a fairly good performance from them.

The Raiders' first four pointer, in the 25th minute, was the try of the match - with Joe Tapine throwing an absolute gem of an offload to Josh Papalii... who then set Jack Wighton on his way to the line. Wighton was very strong and we can expect that the left side attack will get into top gear early in the season. Understandably, the right side will need to build some combinations. George Williams was still feeling his way. One thing which might not come off in the NRL is his long, looping pass - which very nearly proved costly.

The only points of the second half came with 13 minutes remaining. Sam Williams "saved the day" for the Raiders, scoring a nice individual try, stepping through a big gap. He converted, to give the Raiders the lead for the first time in the afternoon. It proved to be a winning lead.

One interesting aspect of the game was the rule change which gives teams flexibility on the placement of scrums. Both teams consistently chose to set scrums in mid field, with the option of going either side. The Raiders produced a nice set play from one scrum, with Jarrod Croker very nearly slicing through. They botched another. I'm sure we will see some experimentation... but I think the jury is still out on whether this rule change is going to have a significant impact.

Stats that mattered?

Possession share was even (50-50) - as was the error count, with both teams "sinning" 13 times. The Bulldogs were less disciplined, conceding more penalties (10-6). The completion rate for both teams was lower than both coaches would like in a premiership match (Bulldogs 71 per cent, Raiders 69 per cent). The Raiders had the better attacking statistics, making more runs (179-138), running metres (1486-1224), post contact metres (537-435), kick return metres (149-111), metres per set (35.4-32.7) and tackle breaks (29-12). The Bulldogs made more line breaks (4-2). The Bulldogs kicked more (21-13) and made more kicking metres (617-429). The Raiders produced the only forced line drop out (Josh Hodgson) - while Josh Hodgson was very nearly responsible for a 40/20 as well.

The Raiders posted a 91.6 per cent effective tackle rate (88.7 per cent for the Bulldogs). Save for the first 10 minutes, the Green Machine's defence was good - and mostly shut down those Bulldogs line breaks. The Bulldogs missed 29 tackles, the Raiders just 12 - while ineffective tackles were pretty even (Bulldogs 13, Raiders 14).

Memorable moments?

There were more forgettable moments than memorable ones. But as mentioned, Joe Tapine's offload to set up the Wighton try was an absolute gem.

Best performers?

The forwards were mostly very good, with Papalii and Guler looking like they'd played the Grand Final a few weeks ago. Corey Horsburgh will do the job in the second row while Bateman is injured. He's looking fitter than ever. But he'll want to rein in some of the wild offloads. Joe Tapine was great, I wouldn't be moving him from lock, as some fans are suggesting - but he is the best other option for the second row. Moving Sia Soliola to the second row, as some other fans are suggesting, would be a mistake. Soliola doesn’t have the lateral movement needed for the edge these days, and he’s fantastic partnering Papalii as starting prop. In the backs, Wighton was always threatening. I'll leave player ratings to Round 1.

Emre Guler. 19 runs for 202 metres, 84 post contact metres, two tackle breaks, one offload, 18 tackles, 100 per cent tackle efficiency.

Josh Papalii. 11 runs for 83 metres, 25 post contact metres, one line break, one try assist, two offloads, 21 tackles, 100 per cent tackle efficiency.

Corey Horsburgh. 11 runs for 82 metres, 29 post contact metres, three tackle breaks, three offloads, 28 tackles, 90.3 per cent tackle efficiency... but two errors and a penalty conceded.

Top tacklers: Corey Horsburgh 28, Dunamis Lui 27, Elliott Whitehead 25, Josh Hodgson 25
Most metres gained: Emre Guler 202, Bailey Simonsson 96, Joe Tapine 90

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zim
Steve Walters
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by zim »

Great write up. Those are some pretty crazy numbers from Guler for 40mins play.

TongueFTW
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by TongueFTW »

Even though scrappy, nice to get a win. Dogs aren’t pushovers, they will be competitive this year.

I didn’t realise Guler got through that much work. Super impressive. I loved his performance in the GF. For a player at his age, in his role, to make that positive contribution in the biggest game of the year bodes very well for his future.

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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by BadnMean »

Yeah you certainly noticed he was out there but I am amazed he was racking up numbers like that, vs a pack with Napa in it too. That was the way he was trending towards end last year- making an impact vs the best packs beyond just kind of holding his own. Bodes well.

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bonehead
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by bonehead »

looks an nrl player now Guler, he and Dunamis really pushed in hard off the bench

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Seiffert82
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by Seiffert82 »

Guler was solid, but can't say I noticed him punching out Taumololo metres! Maybe they added Tapine's.

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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: What will 2020 bring the Canberra Raiders?

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2019 was the best season for the Canberra Raiders in 25 years. The Raiders had not made the Grand Final for a quarter of a century - and the Raiders got "oh so close" to a fourth premiership. The wait for a title continues - for a club that has waited longer than any other, apart from the Eels. However, Raiders fans were left bursting with pride after the Grand Final - a match in which the Raiders were the better team everywhere but on the final scoreboard. The surge to the premiership decider, the outpouring of emotion when the team qualified, the Viking Clap thundering on the biggest day of the year. Those are things we'll never forget.

The Raiders transformed their game in 2019.

In 2016, the Raiders finished in second position on the ladder and made a Preliminary Final. Along the way, they won 10 matches in a row. They were number one in the league for points scored, scoring nearly 100 points more than the second placed team. No Canberra team had ever scored more points in a season. It wasn't quite so pretty on the defensive side of the ledger. And the Raiders lost twice in the finals and failed to qualify for the Grand Final.

Two years of bitter disappointment followed. Those years underlined two things. First, scoring plenty of points is not enough. Canberra finished second for most points scored in 2018, but in 10th place on the ladder. The Raiders had to do something about their defence. Secondly, good game management is required to win in the clutch situations. 2017 and 2018 were marred by many close, last gasp losses - due to a lack of composure and controlled play-making.

Ricky Stuart's preparations for the 2019 season focussed on both - and he changed the way that the Raiders play. It almost delivered a title - and the Raiders now have a premiership window that is wide open. But can the Green Machine take the next step? Only time will tell. The journey starts again in a week's time.

The recruits

The Raiders have lost three players for the upcoming season who were a key part of the 2019 Grand Final team: half Aidan Sezer, centre Joey Leilua and winger Jordan Rapana. It is the next stage of a deliberate strategy to evolve the team - and reflects a more hard nosed approach to the managment of the salary cap.

Coach Ricky Stuart was prepared to lose some big name props at the end of 2019 - Junior Paulo and Shannon Boyd - because they were commanding contracts that were more than the Raiders wished to afford in that position.

This off season, Stuart was prepared to let "Leipana" go. Leilua and Rapana have given us many magic moments - epitomised by "that" try one sunny afternoon at Leichhardt in 2016. That was the try where Leilua was running backwards to the try line, and flicked an offload around his back to Rapana for a sensational four pointer. However, at the end of 2019, the club decided they would not match the money on offer for Rapana in Japanese union. And earlier this year, the club decided that $600,000 was too much to tie up at centre, releasing Joey Leilua to the Wests Tigers. The underlying aim has been to create more cap space for the most critical positions, the play makers.

The Raiders decided early last year that they needed to move in a different direction at half back. English representative George Williams was very deliberately targeted, with the aim of lifting the threat on offer in the halves. The negotiations took an age, with the Raiders having to fork out a large transfer fee to his English club, Wigan. But the Raiders eventually got their man - and Aidan Sezer was eventually released to English club Huddersfield.



George Williams is not a traditional organising halfback. Since 2015, he's been playing at five eighth in England. He's more of a runner with a good short kicking game. But with Josh Hodgson taking the dominant play maker role from dummy half, Williams and his halves partner, Jack Wighton will offer attacking strike. Williams probably will take time to settle into the NRL, and he will take time to gel with the "all new" right side. We shouldn't expect too much, too soon.

Curtis Scott is the other biggest name recruit, brought to the club from the Melbourne Storm to start at right centre - in place of Joey Leilua. He had a good beginning with the club during the off season on the training park and with his fund raising for bushfire relief. But following an incident in Sydney after Australia Day celebrations, Scott is now facing a number of charges, the most serious being assault of police officers. NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has taken up until this week to decide whether to use his discretionary powers to stand Scott down. However, he has now been cleared by the NRL to play in Round 1.

Scott played 48 games at centre for the Melbourne Storm, including in two Grand Finals. At age 22, he already has one NRL premiership to his name. He had a disrupted 2019, playing just nine games. He struggled a little with form, but also with injury, fracturing his foot. He pushed his way into first grade, late in the season, playing in two finals matches for Melbourne. He finished the year by being selected in the Australian Under 23s team to play France and in the Australian World Nines team. Hopefully, things settle for him off the field, so he can play his best football in 2020.

While the Raiders haven't brought in a lot of new players from outside, the turnover in the squad is probably enough to keep things fresh, while not disrupting combinations too much. The club has an impressive list of re-signings - headlined by the recent mammoth contract extension for 2019 Clive Churchill Medalist, Jack Wighton. There is an expectation that new deals for Jarrod Croker and Nick Cotric will be announced soon. There is also some youth being injected from the Raiders' 2020 Jersey Flegg squad. One of those players, Harley Smith-Shields, is my rookie to watch.

The forwards

The Raiders shifted to a more mobile forward pack in 2019 and that paid off in spades. Josh Papalii moved to prop and, in my opinion, became the game's leading front rower. His season was summed up by his winning try under the posts in the Preliminary Final. He deservedly won the Meninga Medal and Fans' Choice Player of the Year for a third time. Sia Soliola also became a full fledged member of the front rower's union - and ended the season as Papalii's starting prop partner. I expect coach Ricky Stuart will stick with that partnership in 2020. Early last year, I was an advocate of starting Soliola on the bench, so the team had an experienced forward leader on the park at all times. But given how quickly the likes of Corey Horsburgh and Emre Guler have developed, that's not necessary.

At the start of last season, many commentators had new English recruit, John Bateman starting on the bench. By the end of the season, he was the Dally M Second rower of the Year. There's not a lot to him, but he's tough and has heart. Unfortunately, shoulder surgery will see him miss at least the first six weeks of the 2020 season. That poses some early challenges in the back row and at lock - particularly when you throw in suspensions for Hudson Young (five matches) and Ryan Sutton (one match). Then add in the prospect of a move for Jack Murchie to the Warriors and the depth at the back of the scrum will be seriously tested.

Corey Horsburgh was tried in Bateman's No. 11 jersey in the trial at Port Macquarie. I thought he played well, but there were some issues with ball security and positioning in defence. I'm expecting Joe Tapine will make the move back to the second row to start the season, with Horsburgh to take over at lock. Horsburgh admits he's much more comfortable in the middle. In addition, Tapine injects a bit more experience into an all new right edge - which looked a little bit at sea at times in the Port Macquarie trial.

The backs

Jarrod Croker is the dependable rock in the outside backs - and it looks like he will partner with Bailey Simonsson on the left edge. Simonsson had a break out year in 2019. He was moved around quite a bit, mostly starting on the bench, including in the Grand Final. But Croker and Simonsson showed some signs of building a good partnership last year, when Nick Cotric was shifted to centre to cover for an injured Joey Leilua. This is his opportunity to nail down a permanent starting role.

The plan for the right edge is for Curtis Scott to team up with Nick Cotric. However, Scott's court case casts a shadow over that plan - and it could come unstuck if things don't turn out well for Scott in his legal proceedings. As mentioned, the threat of an immediate NRL stand down has been removed, but the NRL has warned that a suspension could follow if Scott is not cleared. It's also not entirely clear if Scott can travel to New Zealand for Round 2.

Given all that, Michael Oldfield is the experienced, safe pair of hands who will be called upon if needed. I've actually put him on the bench for Round 1, given the dearth of available forwards and the need to cover injuries in the backs. The other alternative would be to start Oldfield, with Simonsson on the bench - allowing Simonsson to provide cover for the backs, as well as pop up in the middle later in the game against tired forwards.

The spine

At this time last year, there were commentators suggesting that the Canberra Raiders had one of the worst "spines" in the competition. Certainly, the fans were wondering whether the gamble of shifting Jack Wighton to five eighth and bringing in a late addition to the squad, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, at fullback, would pay off. Fortune smiled on that gamble. Both players made representative squads. Both players were critical to Canberra's on field success.

Now the commentators are suggesting Canberra has one of the best spines in the NRL. How times change. However, it is a spine which doesn't have the traditional mix of skills, with a strong organising half back. In addition, ball playing is one area where Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has the most room for growth. Time will tell whether it all comes together. But the unconventional might also prove to be a strength.

Coaching

The coaching game in rugby league is a very tough business. Your job is almost never safe. Ricky Stuart went into season 2019 knowing that he couldn't afford too many more seasons like 2017 and 2018. But today he must be one of the coaches most secure in his position - with his contract extended to end 2023 last year.

Winning games, of course, is the number one indicator that shapes coaching futures. But one of the things that impressed me most about the coaching team in 2019 - admittedly from the outside - is that they seemed to turn the club into a "learning organisation". That's a bit of leadership jargon, which might even be a bit old fashioned these days. What is it? It is an organisation that builds knowledge and changes behaviour on the basis of new knowledge, new insights. And I saw that in a number of ways last year. The focus on the key problem areas in the off season. How Andrew McFadden and Brett White teamed up to fix the defence. How Ricky Stuart took the "no excuses" mantra to a new level, never blaming the officiating for losses and keeping the NRL on side. How Michael Ennis was brought into the fold for a new perspective - from a player just recently retired. That coaching team has put the club in a strong position as we head into 2020.

Pre-season

One worrying thing is that the Raiders have had a short, disrupted pre-season this year. A good number of Raiders players took part in the end of season Test matches - and many did not return to pre-season training until the New Year. Bush fire smoke forced the top squad to relocate training to the Sunshine Coast for more than a week. And then there have been off field distractions, suspensions and injury. The Raiders looked disjointed in their only trial match last weekend, narrowly winning, 12-10, against the Bulldogs at Port Macquarie. The team won't be able to afford a slow start - as eight of their 12 matches in the first half of the season are against teams that featured in the bottom eight in 2019.

NRL draw

NRL.com has rated the Raiders' draw as relatively "easy" (sixth in the league), based on a listing of the most to least favoured teams in betting markets and the number of games each club plays against more/less favoured teams. Experience shows that these sorts of predictions are rarely correct. Canberra does seem to face a harder run in the second half of the year. There is a particularly tough stretch of seven games in the middle of the season, where the Raiders face the Roosters in the Grand Final replay in Perth, the Storm away, the Warriors, the Roosters again, the Sharks, Broncos and Eels.

Who they play twice: Titans, Warriors, Dragons, Sea Eagles, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Tigers, Roosters, Storm
Who they play once: Knights, Bulldogs, Sharks, Broncos, Eels, Cowboys
Games against 2019 top eight sides: 11
Games against 2019 bottom eight sides: 13
Day-by-day: Thursday - 1, Friday - 2, Saturday - 12, Sunday – 9
Five-day turnarounds: 1 (Round 3)
Play at home: Titans, Dragons, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Panthers, Warriors, Roosters, Broncos, Eels, Tigers, Storm
Play away: Warriors, Panthers, Knights*, Bulldogs, Tigers, Roosters, Storm, Sharks, Dragons, Cowboys, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Titans
Television: FTA TV: 8 (against Dragons, Sea Eagles 2, Panthers, Roosters, Sharks, Tigers, Storm). All matches on STV.

Round 1 Raiders V Titans, Friday 13 March 6:00pm, Canberra Stadium, Fox League
Round 2 Warriors V Raiders, Saturday 21 March 3:00pm, Eden Park, Fox League
Round 3 Raiders V Dragons, Thursday 26 March 8:05pm, Canberra Stadium, Nine, Fox League
Round 4 Sea Eagles V Raiders, Friday 3 April 8:05pm, Canberra Stadium, Nine, Fox League
Round 5 Panthers V Raiders, Sunday 12 April 4:05pm, Panthers Stadium, Nine, Fox League
Round 6 Raiders V Knights, Saturday 18 April 3:00pm, Wagga Wagga, Fox League *
Round 7 Raiders V Rabbitohs, Sunday 26 April 2:05pm, Canberra Stadium, Fox League
Round 8 Bulldogs V Raiders, Magic Round, Saturday 2 May, Lang Park, Fox League
Round 9 Tigers V Raiders, Saturday 9 May 5:30pm, Scully Park, Tamworth, Fox League
Round 10 Raiders V Panthers, Sunday 17 May 2:05pm, Canberra Stadium, Fox League
Round 11 Roosters V Raiders, Saturday 23 May 7:35pm, Perth Oval, Fox League
Round 12 BYE
Round 13 Storm V Raiders, Saturday 6 June 7:35pm, Melbourne Rectangular, Fox League
Round 14 Raiders V Warriors, Sunday 14 June 2:05pm, Canberra Stadium, Fox League
Round 15 Raiders V Roosters, Sunday 28 June 4:05pm, Canberra Stadium, Nine, Fox League
Round 16 Sharks V Raiders, Sunday 5 July 4:05pm, Kogarah Jubilee Oval, Nine, Fox League
Round 17 Raiders V Broncos, Saturday 11 July 5:30pm, Canberra Stadium, Fox League
Round 18 Raiders V Eels, Saturday 18 July 5:30pm, Canberra Stadium, Fox League
Round 19 Dragons V Raiders, Sunday 26 July 2:05pm, Wollongong Stadium, Fox League
Round 20 Cowboys V Raiders, Saturday 1 August 7:35pm, North Queensland Stadium, Fox League
Round 21 Sea Eagles V Raiders, Saturday 8 August 7:35pm, Brookvale Oval, Nine, Fox League
Round 22 Raiders V Wests Tigers, Sunday 16 August 4:05pm, Canberra Stadium, Nine, Fox League
Round 23 Rabbitohs V Raiders, Saturday 22 August 5:30pm, Central Coast Stadium, Fox League
Round 24 Titans V Raiders, Sunday 30 August 2:05pm, Robina Stadium, Fox League
Round 25 Raiders V Storm, Saturday 5 September 7:35pm, Canberra Stadium, Nine, Fox League

Home games in bold
* Home fixture played away

Ratings

RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION: B+
FORWARDS: A+
BACKS: A-
SPINE: A-

The verdict

Predicted finish: Top four

Overall, my ratings average out at roughly an "A" and that translates into a top four finish. There is a very old adage in rugby league - that you need to lose a Grand Final to win one. This squad will be better for the 2019 Grand Final appearance. Ricky Stuart says that the players are still "filthy" on losing a game that they put themselves into a position to win. The other thing I like is that the club has not stood still. The club made a mistake in 2016, thinking they could go one better by simply "keeping the squad together". I don't think that mistake will be made again. If the team can make the top four, they will give the premiership a hell of a shake.

Predicted Round 1 team: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Curtis Scott 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Sia Soliola 11. Joseph Tapine 12. Elliot Whitehead 13. Corey Horsburgh 14. Michael Oldfield 15. Siliva Havilii 16. Dunamis Lui 17. Emre Guler

Injury/suspension: Ryan Sutton (Suspended, Round 2), Hudson Young (Suspended, Round 6), John Bateman (Shoulder, Round 7-8), Luke Bateman (Knee, Round 6-8), Sebastian Kris (Extended sick leave)

Top 30 squad: John Bateman, Luke Bateman, JJ Collins, Nick Cotric, Jarrod Croker, Emre Guler, Matt Frawley, Siliva Havili, Josh Hodgson, Corey Horsburgh, Sebastian Kris, Dunamis Lui, Jack Murchie, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Michael Oldfield, Josh Papalii, Curtis Scott, Bailey Simonsson, Harley Smith-Shields, Sia Soliola, Tom Starling, Ryan Sutton, Joseph Tapine, Semi Valemei, Elliott Whitehead, Jack Wighton, George Williams, Sam Williams, Hudson Young (29 players, one required to be recruited before 30 June)

Development players: Darby Medlyn, Andre Niko, Kai O'Donnell, Jarrett Subloo

2020 gains: Matt Frawley (Huddersfield Giants, end 2021, initially signed on development contract for 2020), Curtis Scott (Melbourne Storm), George Williams (Wigan Warriors, end 2022)

2020 losses: Brad Abbey, Ata Hingano (Mackay Cutters), Royce Hunt (Cronulla Sharks), Joey Leilua (Wests Tigers), Reuben Porter, Jordan Rapana (Japanese union), Aidan Sezer (Huddersfield)

Re-signed: Luke Bateman (end 2020), Corey Horsburgh (end 2022), Sebastian Kris (end 2020), Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (end 2023), Bailey Simonsson (end 2023), Harley Smith-Shields (promoted to top 30, end 2021), Tom Starling (promoted to top 30, end 2020), Ricky Stuart (coach, end 2023), Ryan Sutton (end 2022), Semi Valemei (promoted to top 30, end 2021), Elliott Whitehead (end 2022), Jack Wighton (end 2024), Sam Williams (end 2022)
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zim
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by zim »

Good read mate. Going to be a great season.
Bit odd we've heard nothing of Havili's hamstring. Guess he's alright.

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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: Peter V'landys, it is time for the NRL to tell us the whole story on third party agreements

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The NRL season starts tonight, and we often hear people say... "It's been a long off season".

Certainly, plenty of things have happened since that October night in Sydney, when the Canberra Raiders were the better side for most of the match... but did not come away with a premiership. We've seen rule changes, arrivals and departures, off field dramas, the opening of a new Raiders centre of excellence and the passing of one of our club's founding fathers. We’ve seen a mammoth new deal for Clive Churchill Medalist, Jack Wighton, and just today, for co-captain Jarrod Croker.

But for the Canberra Raiders, it has actually been quite a short off season. Test football was played until the middle of November and the Perth Nines saw the Green Machine back on the field in the middle of February. The players have not had long to prepare.

Regardless, there is plenty to write about.

****

New ARLC Chairman, Peter V'landys came to Canberra last week and attended the Raiders' season launch at the amazing new centre of excellence at Braddon. That day, he also sat down for coffee with Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.

Stuart said later that he told V'landys that the Raiders often feel like the "poor cousins" of the NRL.

"There’s a huge perception that we are basically the poor cousins and we don’t feel that we get the opportunities that the other clubs do in a number of areas of the game," he said.

"This is something that’s been a perception there for a long, long time, and I think it’s very unfair. We often feel like out of mind, out of sight. We are such a big part of the game in terms of the footprint that we have put in the game in such a short time... I believe we need respect."

He didn't say anything beyond that. So what did he mean exactly?

I suspect this all goes back to a now infamous visit, quite a while back, from "someone" at the NRL. That someone told the Raiders that if the NRL was starting afresh and putting pins in the map to identify their preferred locations for clubs... they wouldn't be putting a pin in the map at Canberra.

I think Stuart's comment would almost certainly relate to some of the NRL's commercial arrangements - like broadcasting deals - which see some clubs treated more favourably than others. For many years, the Raiders have had less than a handful of their matches screened on free to air television. Attracting sponsorships is pretty difficult in those circumstances.

With the NRL now controlling the broadcast scheduling, the Grand Finalists will be pleased they'll appear on free to air television eight times in 2020. However, that's still well below others like the Broncos. They will be on the screens of the Nine Network 18 times this season.

I wouldn’t be surprised if consistency of the NRL's judiciary and similar processes was one of Stuart’s concerns. And I wouldn't mind betting that the comments reflect concerns about salary cap arrangements. There is no reward in the cap arrangements for clubs like the Raiders that invest a lot in junior development. And then, there is the great big hole in the salary cap called "third party agreements" (TPAs).

TPAs are supposed to be sponsorship deals for players offered by genuine "third parties" - organisations that have nothing to do with a club. They don't count to the salary cap. They are not supposed to influence the decision about the club at which a player signs. It is fairly clear, however, that a lot of these deals have not been "genuine". They have been at the centre of every recent major case of salary cap cheating.

One of the stated objectives of the salary cap is to ensure that the competition is even. But TPAs undermine that. There is no level playing field.

It used to be the case that we had no information about the disparity between the clubs and their players’ access to TPAs. However, it was fairly clear that that some clubs, those close to big business and located in big cities, had a big advantage over others.

Such was the public outcry over TPAs, a couple of years ago the NRL decided that there at least should be transparency over the aggregate amount of TPAs at each club.

The first set of numbers was released after the 2018 season - and there was an update for 2019 in December last year.

The headlines that followed the latest release focussed on a $2 million drop in "private sector arm's length agreements" - from $4.7 million to $2.7 million - after the NRL had cracked down on TPAs that were not genuinely "third party" deals.

NRL chief operating officer Nick Weeks said this: "We recognised the genuine concerns our clubs and fans had about third-party agreements. That's why we introduced more strenuous measures to ensure these arrangements are genuine arms-length deals. We are confident that this level of transparency about third-party agreements will improve confidence in the effective operation of the salary cap and reduce the amount of speculation and guess work about this part of the game."

Sounds good doesn't it?

But, as with a lot of things that the NRL tells us, we need to read the fine print.

For a start, we need to understand that there are different types of TPAs. There are several, including for motor vehicles, community and contra deals for things like boots and headgear, "whole of game sponsorships" and "private sector arm's length agreements".

When the NRL released the figures on TPAs in 2018, it wasn't entirely obvious the figures related to "private sector arm's length agreements". But when the figures were released in 2019, it became very clear that the fans had been duped.

We were told in the story on NRL.com last December that "of the $6 million of TPAs in 2019, only $2.7 million came from private sector arm's length agreements, significantly less than the $4.7m 12 months earlier."

It became obvious that we have been, and are being, told only half the story by the NRL. We only have transparency for one category of TPAs. We have only been given club by club figures for less than half the total value of TPAs.

We were told in the story that "private sector arm's length agreements are what have traditionally been most questioned by fans".

But given that there's another $3 million floating about in the TPA pool, I've now got a lot of questions about that. We have no idea how that $3 million is split between the clubs. The NRL promised us transparency on TPAs and did not deliver.

For some reason, the NRL thinks that we aren't interested about how the "whole of game sponsorships" are split between the clubs. These are deals offered by NRL sponsors, like Telstra, Coca Cola, Carlton and United, Holden... there's a very long list.

The numbers that the NRL has deigned to release show that the "big" clubs like the Broncos and Storm have been big beneficiaries of the TPA loophole, while the Raiders have not been.

I had wondered why the Roosters are a team that the NRL figures showed as having little in the way of TPAs. However, now we all understand why.

We were told in December that "the likes of Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco benefited from additional whole of game sponsorship which wasn't included in the team-by-team breakdown".

There is a lot of talk about the arrogance of the NRL at present. Telling us only half the story on TPAs is a classic example. It's time for the new ARLC Chairman to tell us the whole story.

****

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As mentioned, one of the Canberra Raiders founding fathers, Don Furner Snr passed recently, with his funeral service held at St Christopher’s Cathedral at Manuka last Thursday. The Raiders’ inaugural coach has had dementia for some time, and just prior to the Grand Final last year, suffered a stroke. It is not an overstatement to say the Raiders would not exist without him. It was not all plain sailing in those early years. But he built the foundation for the team’s early success, co-coaching the Green Machine to the club’s first Grand Final, with Wayne Bennett, in 1987. Our sincere condolences are with the Furner family and all at the club.

****

I was fortunate enough to attend the Canberra Raiders season launch last Friday at the new Braddon centre of excellence. There were four new inductees to the Raiders Hall of Fame, Craig Bellamy, Matthew Wood, Paul Martin and Phil Carey... delivered by helicopter. And guests were able to walk through the new facility. Thanks to the Raiders for a great night!

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****

The Raiders play their first game of the season on Friday night against last year’s wooden spooners, the Gold Coast Titans. I’m tipping a Raiders win, but they shouldn’t expect an easy game. Coach Ricky Stuart summed it up perfectly:

"Anybody who feels they know the result moving into a game from a spectator’s point of view doesn’t understand how difficult it is playing in the NRL. Every team has the ability to beat each other and you’ve only a little bit of an off day or two or three players not turn up and contribute and all of a sudden you’re in danger. Gold Coast have a brand-new coaching team, a number of new players and they’ve been criticised heavily so they will want to show their supporters and coaches it’s a brand new year and they’re ready to play."

Hopefully I will be reporting on a victory come Saturday!

****

Don’t forget that the Raiders’ lower grade teams are also in action this weekend! In NSW Cup, the Raiders’ affiliate Mounties take on the Blacktown Sea Eagles at Brookvale on Sunday, while two of the Junior Representatives teams take on the Newcastle Knights at Cessnock on Saturday. Click on the links for more details and our previews!

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BJ
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by BJ »

Great point about TPA’s. It’s crazy that a player like Tedesco can move from a struggling team like the Tigers to the powerful Sydney Roosters and receive a ‘whole of game TPA’ in the process.

The NRL have made TPA’s as transparent as a brick wall.

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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by Seiffert82 »

Good read.

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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"They're tough games because everyone's telling you, 'Gee you're lucky to have the Gold Coast in your first game'. The Gold Coast are a very much improved football team. We were very, very good in the first half, which got us out to a lead, and then when they moved Peachey into the middle and Kelly onto the left edge they seemed to have a lot more shape and structure coming at us in attack. They're an improved footy team the Titans. The perception was you're just going to have to turn up tonight and that's a really hard game to prepare for."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.


2020 Round 1. Canberra Raiders 24 - Gold Coast Titans 6. It was one of the strangest game days in Canberra Raiders history. For much of the day it wasn't clear if the game would go ahead, and if it did, whether the supporters would be permitted to attend. The response to the coronavirus saw a frenzy of sports events being cancelled, seasons suspended, and fans locked out. Government decisions on the banning of mass events - from Monday - were announced as supporters travelled to the game. The Raiders' Round 1 match eventually went ahead as planned, but even as the game progressed, the NRL was announcing that all games would be played behind closed doors from Round 2, until further notice. The chaos probably cost the Raiders a third of their season opening crowd.



The Raiders were good in the first half, very good - and they dominated the Titans. Canberra could have easily gone to the break with a 30-0 lead. The Gold Coast outfit grafted their way back into the contest in a fairly ugly second half, for both sides really. The Raiders were disrupted by the loss of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, just before half time, to a head knock. The Titans were very willing to concede penalties rather than points, while fullback Phillip Sami caused some problems for the Raiders' defence. But the Raiders scrambled when they needed to, and were unlucky to concede any points at all. The only Titans try was scored from a blatant forward pass.

Jack Wighton was on fire. The 2019 Clive Churchill Medallist started the season where he left off, scoring two brilliant tries, his strength, speed and his running to the fore. The Raiders led 12-0 before we knew it. Wighton was in everything, his kicking producing a 40/20 and a forced line drop out. Ricky Stuart said after the match that he has challenged Wighton to lift further in 2020, to become a representative level five eighth. He's made a great start to that quest.

New recruit George Williams had a great debut in green. One run nearly set up a try for Jarrod Croker. The half was brought down just short, before he pushed the ball out the back for Croker. It was ruled no try - a knock on from Williams. But it was one of those occasions where the referees rule a knock on, despite the ball being propelled backwards. If the referee had sent it up as a try, it would have been interesting to see the response of the bunker. Williams nearly went over again just before half time - and it is probably the only criticism I could make of his game. A pass to Whitehead, instead of a dummy, would have almost certainly produced a try.

While Corey Horsburgh was named in the second row and Joe Tapine at lock, as predicted in my season preview, Horsburgh played in the middle and Tapine on the edge. That worked well. One concern, however, is that Tapine was put on report for a shoulder charge. It looks like Horsburgh has been given the job of lifting his offloads. That wasn't always a tactic that came off - and some of the offloads looked a bit clunky. But one of those was very effective. Josh Papalii did what Josh Papalii did all through the 2019 season. Emre Guler has now joined him as one of the club's top two props.

What of the Raiders' other new recruit, Curtis Scott? He was solid and it surprised me to see on the stat sheet that he missed a couple of tackles. "Scotric" made some very good metres, with Cotric making one memorable run in the first half and a total of eight tackle breaks. The new right edge probably still needs more time to develop combinations, but it was a pretty good start.

Stats that mattered?

The Raiders had over 60 per cent of possession in the first half, but that evened out in the second. The Raiders finished with a 52 per cent possession share overall. The Titans had 55 per cent possession in the second half, and almost 65 per cent of the territory. The fact that only try was conceded by the Raiders shows how good their defence was. The Raiders had a near flawless completion rate in the first half, but they ended with a 75 per cent completion rate overall (Titans 69 per cent). Ricky Stuart would have liked that number to be higher.

The Raiders had the better attacking statistics, making more runs (191-179), running metres (1756-1687), post contact metres (507-480), kick return metres (186-144), line breaks (6-2) and tackle breaks (45-34). The Titans made more metres per set (46.9-39.9) and more offloads (13-10). The Raiders kicked more (24-16) and made more kicking metres (697-394). The Raiders (Jack Wighton) also produced one line drop out (Titans none) and a 40/20 kick (Titans none).

The Raiders posted an 85.2 per cent effective tackle rate, compared with 86.7 per cent for the Titans. The Titans missed more tackles (45-34), but uncharacteristically, the Raiders made more ineffective tackles (18-14). The Raiders' key defensive statistic, however, was one try conceded.

Memorable moments?

Co-captain Jarrod Croker passed 2000 career points, and he became the youngest player to ever do so in the NRL. He copped a stray knee late in the match - friendly fire - and he left the field with two minutes remaining to a great ovation from the crowd. The best tries in the game were scored by Wighton, but Emre Guler and Elliott Whitehead also scored well deserved four pointers. It was a great pass from Guler to set Whitehead into the hole.

Best performers?

Jack Wighton. Two tries, six runs for 76 metres, two line breaks, five tackle breaks, one offload, one 40/20, one forced line drop out, 13 kicks for 382 metres and 17 tackles. Four errors, four missed tackles and one ineffective tackle were the slight blemishes on an outstanding performance.

George Williams. Seven runs for 64 metres, two line breaks, five tackle breaks, five tackle breaks, seven kicks for 206 metres, 29 tackles, 90.6 per cent tackle efficiency.

Emre Guler. One try, 17 runs for 139 metres, 40 post contact metres, one line break, one line break assist, one try assist, four tackle breaks, 19 tackles. Four missed tackles, three ineffective were the blemish.

Josh Papalii and Corey Horsburgh were unlucky not to feature in my top three. Josh Hodgson was also very good.

Top tacklers: Josh Hodgson 40, Joe Tapine 38, Corey Horsburgh 37
Most metres gained: Josh Papalii 172, Bailey Simonsson 165, Emre Guler 139

My player ratings:

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 4
Bailey Simonsson 6
Jarrod Croker 6
Curtis Scott 7
Nick Cotric 7
Jack Wighton 8
George Williams 8
Josh Papalii 7
Josh Hodgson 7
Dunamis Lui 6
Corey Horsburgh 7
Elliott Whitehead 7
Joe Tapine 7

Siliva Havilii 3
Emre Guler 7
Sia Soliola 6
Michael Oldfield 4

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zim
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by zim »

Great read.
I don't agree on the Williams knock on. He lost control when the impact of the ground forced it loose. That's always a knock on.
Might be a bit early to push Emre into the number 2 prop spot.
He's looking fantastic but he's got to be consistent and against better opposition. Should just be a matter of time.
I'm assuming you're saying Horsburgh is a lock?
Our bench is going to be pretty crazy when Bateman comes back.

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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by greeneyed »

Might have been a slight bit of hyperbole... but I'm really impressed by Guler, he's gone to a new level since the 2019 finals experience. I was putting Horsburgh in the lock category, for the moment anyway.
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gangrenous
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by gangrenous »

zim wrote:Great read.
I don't agree on the Williams knock on. He lost control when the impact of the ground forced it loose. That's always a knock on.
I think you’re both wrong.

I thought Williams pushed it out deliberately. But he did so after the ball carrying arm hit the ground with defenders on him. Tackle complete, clear cut no try.

I think you’ve rated Williams too high for mine. He wasn’t as good as Jack and ultimately muffed his big attacking opportunities with poor decision making. That’s not to say I’m disappointed with what I saw, and he showed that he should have the qualities we’re after. But that wasn’t an 8 for mine.

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yeh raiders
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by yeh raiders »

It was a solid debut for mine. He'll be pulled up on his glory hog plays during the week and there's no better time to get the cobwebs out than round 1.

Literally only took him 1 game to show he is a far more dangerous ball runner than Sezer, and that will cause the defence headaches to try and compensate for it. No team in the comp was worried about Sezer running the ball, but George Williams fired off warning shots last night.

Onwards and upwards.

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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by Mr Squiggle »

Harsh on Havili. He came on at the back end, bent the line and made his tackles. What more do you want?

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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by zim »

gangrenous wrote:
March 14, 2020, 12:12 pm
zim wrote:Great read.
I don't agree on the Williams knock on. He lost control when the impact of the ground forced it loose. That's always a knock on.
I think you’re both wrong.

I thought Williams pushed it out deliberately. But he did so after the ball carrying arm hit the ground with defenders on him. Tackle complete, clear cut no try.

I think you’ve rated Williams too high for mine. He wasn’t as good as Jack and ultimately muffed his big attacking opportunities with poor decision making. That’s not to say I’m disappointed with what I saw, and he showed that he should have the qualities we’re after. But that wasn’t an 8 for mine.
He hit the ground. It rolls out of the arm carrying the ball, losing control, then he uses the other arm to flick it back. It's a black and white knock on.

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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by Seiffert82 »

Yeah, it was definitely a knock on. If he held onto the ball we would likely have scored the next play or two. The Titans were shot.

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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: An (almost) coronavirus free zone

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Last Thursday seems like another world away. A lot's happened in a week. The world has seemingly turned upside down, due to the coronavirus pandemic. You're probably already tired of hearing about it. I will say one thing about it, before doing my best to make the rest of the column a coronavirus free zone. I think the NRL has shown a lot of leadership in a time of crisis. They know that while it remains safe to do so, rugby league needs to go on, even if it is behind closed gates. Because if the games stop, the broadcast revenue stops, and the viability of the code and the clubs is in very serious doubt.

There will be many twists and turns to come, and at some point it seems inevitable that the season will be suspended. The league will be in a better position to adjust - both logistically and financially - if they can get as many games under the belt as possible. But everyone in the game will need to tighten the belt as well. It'd be nice to think there was a big "rainy day" fund at the NRL to deal with the situation. But the fact that there are not more in financial reserves, has as much to do with the past demands of the clubs and players, as it does the league. With revenues undoubtedly to be significantly reduced, costs will need to be reduced. And here's news for one player from another club who said, "I better not be taking a cut". Player salaries are one of the biggest costs for clubs and can't be immune in a worst case scenario.

In any case, the response of the NRL to date, leaves me confident that the leadership will be up to the massive challenges ahead.

****

Jack Wighton had a wonderful start to the season last Friday night. The winner of the Clive Churchill Medal in the 2019 Grand Final - in a losing side - picked up exactly where he left off. He scored a fantastic double, simply the result of some strong, powerful running . He made six runs, for 76 metres and five tackle breaks. His kicking game was outstanding too, making 382 metres from 13 kicks - and producing one forced line drop out and a memorable 40/20 kick.

His shift to five eighth at the start of 2019 has been an unqualified success. But he seems to be taking his game to a whole different plane. His coach, Ricky Stuart, revealed after the win over the Titans, that he has challenged him to become a representative level No. 6.

"I've spoken a bit to Jack over the off-season about going to another level," Stuart said. "Personally I think Jack will become and is ready to become a representative five-eighth. That's a little goal that we've got and it's something that he's most definitely taken on board after that performance tonight."

Wighton made his NSW Blues debut in 2019, off the bench in Origin I - then played out of position, at centre, in the next two matches. He also made his Kangaroos debut last year. James Maloney was the Blues five eighth in Origin II and III, after Cody Walker failed to nail down the spot in Origin I. Now Maloney has headed to the English Super League, the spot is there for the taking - though Luke Keary is another leading contender.

Wighton and George Williams are set to be a very dangerous, if unconventional, halves pairing for the Green Machine. Williams, recruited from Wigan, had a very impressive debut in green against the Titans. His game is similar to Wighton. His running game was almost as strong as Wighton, making 64 metres from seven runs - and threatening to score a couple of times. My only criticism is that he might have passed to Elliott Whitehead on one of those occasions, instead of heading for the line himself. He has a good short kicking game to boot. He was actually stronger than Jack Wighton in defence - which is saying a lot, given how good Jack Wighton generally is in defence.

They come up against a Warriors pairing of Chanel Harris-Tavita and Blake Green on Saturday afternoon. I'm looking forward to seeing how the partnership develops.

****

Last week we saw some new rule changes in action for the first time in an official contest.

The Raiders made their first ever captain's challenge - when Corey Horsburgh was ruled to have lost the ball in the 55th minute. It was unsuccessful. Coach Ricky Stuart says he's happy to see the introduction of the captain's challenge if it promotes more fan engagement, more excitement. I don't think it does that. In the context of Friday night's game, it simply added a "dead spot" and slowed down the contest. I suspect teams are going to do that tactically, for that very reason, even if the challenge is a bit dubious. I'd like to see it used sparingly, and saved for really critical points in games - like the "six again" call in the 2019 Grand Final which probably inspired the new rule.

The other new rule that was in action allows scrums to be be set at centre field or 20 or 10 metres from the sideline. For the most part, teams seem to be setting scrums in centre field, allowing attack to be mounted from either side. From memory, the Raiders only set one scrum on the edge. Personally, I think this rule change is tinkering for not much good reason. I suspect it is a coach driven rule - and we should be very wary of those. The coaches love to dream up new ways of finding tactical advantages for their team. But I can't say I have ever heard anyone demanding this particular change before it was put on the table by the NRL late last year. But if we think that scrums in the centre of the field open up more attacking opportunities, why not just switch to that? There is more complexity for not much reason.

The other bit of tinkering is the introduction of a 20/40 kick - a variation of the successful 40/20 rule. I don't think we'll see many 20/40 attempts, given the risks of an unsuccessful attempt.

On balance, I think the captain's challenge is a plus. I guess time will tell whether any of the other changes make the game a whole lot better.

****

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Jarrod Croker passed yet another milestone last Friday night. He became the youngest player ever to score more 2000 career points. He has also moved to seventh on the all-time leading point scorers list, which includes the likes of Cameron Smith, Hazem El Masri, Johnathan Thurston, Andrew Johns, Jason Taylor and Daryl Halligan. It is another remarkable achievement for Croker, who already holds the club record for most tries and points and for most points scored in a season. He's second only to Jason Croker, for most games played. Congratulations to the skipper!

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The Raiders head to the Gold Coast on Saturday for their Round 2 clash with the New Zealand Warriors. The Warriors failed to score a point in difficult conditions against the Knights at Newcastle in Round 1 - and have had a very disrupted week. I'm tipping the Raiders should be far too good in this one. But Canberra needs to be very wary. The New Zealand outfit has some very dangerous players amongst their back five. One highlight will undoubtedly be the match up between the fullbacks, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and his former mentor, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. In addition, Canberra faces their own challenges - flying in and out on the day. It also remains to be seen how the contest is affected by the absence of a crowd. Who will tell the referees the opposition is offside!?

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Before finishing, just a reminder that while the games go on... so do The Greenhouse #WearGreen2020 and #FromAllAngles competitions! While you might not be in the crowd, still send in your pics from where you're watching the Raiders up against the Warriors! We understand the NRL will be putting fan pics up on the big video screen on Saturday, if you also add the match hashtag #NRLWarriorsRaiders. So make sure you show the team your support! Don't forget, you can enter videos... maybe do the Viking Clap!

We have a new sponsor on board for the competitions, GMD, while Jerseys Megastore has remained on board.

The best pic of the month will receive a $100 voucher to spend on GMD meals. GMD is a ready to eat meal prep delivery service for Canberra and Queanbeyan - which provides food to fuel every lifestyle. You might have noticed Canberra Raiders players are some of their best customers! Find out more or order online at www.gmdcanberra.com.au.

Thanks to Jerseys Megastore, the winners of pics of the year in each category will also receive their choice of a home or away Canberra Raiders jersey. Shop on line for your Raiders merchandise at www.jerseys.com.au. Or shop in person at 17 Iron Knob St Fyshwick!

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Every week I rate the Raiders players on a scale of 0-10... and here is the leader board after Round 1. Average points will be added next week. Let us know if you agree with the ratings... or not!

Total points

George Williams 8
Jack Wighton 8
Corey Horsburgh 7
Curtis Scott 7
Elliott Whitehead 7
Emre Guler 7
Joe Tapine 7
Josh Hodgson 7
Josh Papalii 7
Nick Cotric 7
Bailey Simonsson 6
Dunamis Lui 6
Jarrod Croker 6
Sia Soliola 6
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 4
Michael Oldfield 4
Siliva Havili 3

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gangrenous
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by gangrenous »

What do you think of penalising a team who incorrectly challenges? I don’t want teams using it tactically.

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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by greeneyed »

gangrenous wrote:
March 19, 2020, 5:06 pm
What do you think of penalising a team who incorrectly challenges? I don’t want teams using it tactically.
A "penalty" might be too severe... I'm not sure what the answer is...
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RedRaider
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by RedRaider »

greeneyed wrote:
March 19, 2020, 5:15 pm
gangrenous wrote:
March 19, 2020, 5:06 pm
What do you think of penalising a team who incorrectly challenges? I don’t want teams using it tactically.
A "penalty" might be too severe... I'm not sure what the answer is...
Teams are still getting used to the new rule, so I wouldn't be penalising anyone at this stage. In todays game both the Warriors and Raiders used it late in the match and both were turned down, but I reckon the heat of the day was a factor in that it gave players time to have a breather. The competition is not yet two rounds complete so I don't think rule changes are likely this early.

PJ - the Big League poster this week is the Dragons. I'll let you know when the Green team are the Big League poster boys.

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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by zim »

greeneyed wrote:
March 19, 2020, 5:15 pm
gangrenous wrote:
March 19, 2020, 5:06 pm
What do you think of penalising a team who incorrectly challenges? I don’t want teams using it tactically.
A "penalty" might be too severe... I'm not sure what the answer is...
Not allowing a challenge on a quick tap would take care of most of those.

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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by gangrenous »

The Raiders challenge was an out and out challenge for a breather. That’s not the intention, and not the way the NRL should allow them to be used.

Still, good on the Raiders for playing smart while that’s the rules.

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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by BadnMean »

gangrenous wrote:
March 21, 2020, 5:06 pm
The Raiders challenge was an out and out challenge for a breather. That’s not the intention, and not the way the NRL should allow them to be used.

Still, good on the Raiders for playing smart while that’s the rules.
It will be used that way. We all knew it before the season. The comeuppance will be the howler strip call that goes against you later.

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Through green eyes 2020

Post by Sid »

What was the interchange number before it was reduced to 10, was it 12?

We now have 2 HIA’s (so effectively 11 interchanges) and 2 captains challenges introduced into the game since then.

It’s time to reduce the interchanges to 8 for next season
Would have won Boogs - 2016, 2017, 2018

1 part green, 1 part machine

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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by BadnMean »

Sid wrote:
March 21, 2020, 5:24 pm
What was the interchange number before it was reduced to 10, was it 12?

We now have 2 HIA’s (so effectively 11 interchanges) and 2 captains challenges introduced into the game since then.

It’s time to reduce the interchanges to 8 for next season
I don't think many in the game would argue with you. Just need some clear air and a media bandwagon to actually get a sensible change done at some stage down the track.

RedRaider
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by RedRaider »

When interchanges were first introduced there were 2 fresh players and 2 that had played lower grades allowed for 'unlimited' interchanges.
It was then brought down to 6 interchanges among the 4 reserve players plus a blood bin allowance. I reckon with the HIA and blood bin we will one day see the interchanges again reduced to 6. It will increase the fatigue factor in the game and give the smaller quicker players more opportunity. Interchange currently stands at 8 with 4 fresh reserves.

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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by -PJ- »

RedRaider wrote:
March 21, 2020, 4:30 pm
greeneyed wrote:
March 19, 2020, 5:15 pm
gangrenous wrote:
March 19, 2020, 5:06 pm
What do you think of penalising a team who incorrectly challenges? I don’t want teams using it tactically.
A "penalty" might be too severe... I'm not sure what the answer is...
Teams are still getting used to the new rule, so I wouldn't be penalising anyone at this stage. In todays game both the Warriors and Raiders used it late in the match and both were turned down, but I reckon the heat of the day was a factor in that it gave players time to have a breather. The competition is not yet two rounds complete so I don't think rule changes are likely this early.

PJ - the Big League poster this week is the Dragons. I'll let you know when the Green team are the Big League poster boys.
Cheers Red..
3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment..Old Faithful
#emptythetank :shock:

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: As I saw it

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"We were very ugly the way we played. Those stats in the first half we gave them every opportunity, they should’ve been leading really. They threw some really good attack at us and fortunately on our right edge we defended it well and saved probably two or three tries that were well executed from an attacking point of view by the Warriors. So they could have been leading.

Defensively we kept aiming up but the stats we had were shocking. The penalties against us, the dropped ball that we turned over was just poor footy. For us to keep holding them out and in the second half they didn't really look like scoring... but we did a good job in keeping them out, or keeping them to six with that penalty try. It was quite a resilient win more so than a high-quality footy win from our point of view."

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart


2020 Round 2. Canberra Raiders 20 - New Zealand Warriors 6. It was a unique match, played in front of no crowd, a "home" game for the New Zealand Warriors played on the Gold Coast. It was also a fairly ugly match, full of error, ill discipline and stoppages. It was played in blistering hot conditions and that no doubt contributed to the error rate. The Raiders were not the well oiled Green Machine we saw in the first half of the win over the Titans. But they never really looked like losing the game, such was the strength of their defence.



The Warriors' only points came via a penalty try, and the Raiders have now conceded just six points in each of their opening two matches of the season. While the Titans and Warriors are not expected to feature in the top eight, it is a good indicator that the Raiders have maintained the defensive mojo that they found in 2019 - despite changes to the line up. The new right edge might still be finding their combinations in attack, but the defence from the likes of George Williams, Curtis Scott and Nick Cotric has been impressive.

The Warriors had 56 per cent possession and 20 tackles in the Raiders' red zone in the first half, but they could not find a way through. The Raiders went to the break with a 6-0 lead - and then two quick tries put them in a commanding position. They were clearly the stronger team through the second half. The Raiders repeatedly poked their noses through the line with the ball in hand. And while they didn't convert all of their line breaks into points, the opportunities that were converted were enough. The penalty try for the Warriors saved them from becoming the first team since 1920 to not score a point in the opening two games of the season.

Stats that mattered?

Possession swung back to the Raiders in the second half, but the Warriors still finished the match with a 52 per cent possession share. The completion rate for both teams was poor, with the Warriors marginally better (70 per cent, compared with 68 per cent for the Raiders). The Warriors made slightly more errors (13-11), but the Raiders were very ill disciplined, conceding 10 penalties (Warriors four).

Despite the fact that the Warriors had more opportunity with the ball (Warriors 182 runs, Raiders 186), Canberra dominated the attacking statistics. The Raiders made more running metres (1711-1605), post contact metres (482-458), metres per set (46.3-43.4), kick return metres (235-117), line breaks (4-0) and tackle breaks (46-26). The Warriors made more kicking metres (523 from 17 kicks, compared with 484 from 15 kicks for Canberra), but at times were forced into kicks to make ground. The Raiders forced two line drop outs, to one for the Warriors.

The Raiders did more tackling (329-296), but produced an effective tackle rate that was close to 91 per cent (85.5 per cent for the Warriors). The Warriors missed a whopping 46 tackles (Raiders 26) and produced four ineffective tackles (Raiders seven).

Despite the very good defensive performance, Ricky Stuart will no doubt be stressing that against the better teams, they will not be able to afford a completion rate of less than 70 per cent and a penalty count that is more than double the opposition.

Memorable moments?

The Raiders scored four tries, two from kicks. Early in the second half, Josh Hodgson put in a deft kick into the in goal, with Sia Soliola charging through to ground the ball. And they iced the match in the final minute, when George Williams kicked ahead for Curtis Scott, giving the centre his first try in green, in his 50th NRL match. Jarrod Croker got two try assists in the other four pointers. In the first half, he made a clever run, positioning himself perfectly for a magic inside pass to Elliott Whitehead. Then in the second half, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scooped up a dropped ball from the Warriors close to the Raiders' own goal line - making a huge run up field. On the next play, with the New Zealand defences shot, Croker drew in the opposition perfectly, before shooting a pass wide, sending Bailey Simonsson over in the corner. It was the try of the match.

The Raiders were a bit unlucky at other times. Nick Cotric produced some exciting runs - with one line break in the 26th minute particularly memorable. Only a desperate tackle from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck stopped him. Cotric was also over the line twice, only for the final pass to be called forward. In my view, one of those was a bad call, after a brilliant tip on from Curtis Scott.

In defence, the most memorable moment came from Corey Horsburgh in the first half, when he held the Warriors up in goal, saving an almost certain try.

Best performers?

Nick Cotric. 10 runs for 165 metres, 21 kick return metres, 32 post contact metres, two line breaks, 17 tackle breaks, four tackles, 100 per cent tackle efficiency, one kick defusal.

Jarrod Croker. Two goals, 10 runs for 105 metres, 27 post contact metres, two line break assists, two try assists, six tackle breaks, one offload, five tackles, 71.4 per cent tackle efficiency.

Josh Papalii. 16 runs for 157 metres, 48 post contact metres, four tackle breaks, 22 tackles, 95.7 per cent tackle efficiency.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Sia Soliola were also strong.

Top tacklers: Josh Hodgson 42, Joe Tapine 37, Elliott Whitehead 35, Corey Horsburgh 35
Most metres gained: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 232, Nick Cotric 165, Josh Papalii 157

My player ratings:

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 7
Bailey Simonsson 6
Jarrod Croker 8
Curtis Scott 7
Nick Cotric 8
Jack Wighton 6
George Williams 7
Josh Papalii 7
Josh Hodgson 7
Dunamis Lui 5
Joe Tapine 7
Elliott Whitehead 6
Corey Horsburgh 7

Siliva Havilii 5
Emre Guler 7
Sia Soliola 7
Michael Oldfield 2

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

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RedRaider
Steve Walters
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by RedRaider »

I agree with the Curtis Scott rating and I thought he was very strong in defence. I watched the last 20 minutes of the Knights v Tigers match and saw BJ at his defensive worst for the West Tigers. Scott is a clear defensive upgrade on BJ imo. I don't think Scott is a match for the physicality of BJ in attack, but he is a different style of player. Havili a bit unlucky to only get a 5, I thought he was good in his time on the park.

Good write up as always GE.

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by greeneyed »

RedRaider wrote:
March 22, 2020, 9:24 pm
I agree with the Curtis Scott rating and I thought he was very strong in defence. I watched the last 20 minutes of the Knights v Tigers match and saw BJ at his defensive worst for the West Tigers. Scott is a clear defensive upgrade on BJ imo. I don't think Scott is a match for the physicality of BJ in attack, but he is a different style of player. Havili a bit unlucky to only get a 5, I thought he was good in his time on the park.

Good write up as always GE.
Thanks RedRaider... and I hope you and your family are safe at this troubling time.
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RedRaider
Steve Walters
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Joined: March 3, 2007, 7:02 pm

Re: Through green eyes 2020

Post by RedRaider »

greeneyed wrote:
March 22, 2020, 9:26 pm
RedRaider wrote:
March 22, 2020, 9:24 pm
I agree with the Curtis Scott rating and I thought he was very strong in defence. I watched the last 20 minutes of the Knights v Tigers match and saw BJ at his defensive worst for the West Tigers. Scott is a clear defensive upgrade on BJ imo. I don't think Scott is a match for the physicality of BJ in attack, but he is a different style of player. Havili a bit unlucky to only get a 5, I thought he was good in his time on the park.

Good write up as always GE.
Thanks RedRaider... and I hope you and your family are safe at this troubling time.
Thanks GE. Our grandson, now 6, has been away from school since Monday. He is asthmatic and the risk is too great. He takes great pride in flogging his Pop at all games on the Nintendo Switch. My rare victories (less than 1%) are treated with a sullen 'how did you do that'? Granddaughter, now 4, diagnosed with long sight. She now has to wear glasses but they are very stylish and she had no problem wearing them. She loves to put on a 'singing' and dancing show and you better not look at your phone while the show is on or she will tell you about it. :D

As you know I am a VB drinker. I now call them Virus Busters because I drink it and I am Corona free. I would be happy to partake in a clinical trial but Pubs and Clubs have now been closed.

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Through green eyes 2020

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