Yes, I know, we are closer to the next round than last round but give me a break – I was enjoying a series of tasty watercress sandwiches.

Or don’t – I’m not a cop, I can’t direct you to move on.

So anyway. The Roosters.

I know this column is intended to be all about the Raiders (maybe), but considering the Roosters did what they did, thanks to the black magicks of one Trent Robinson, there isn’t a lot to say about the Green Machine.

Now, I know what you’re going to say. Yes, we extended Ricky Stuart, and no, the Raiders don’t look like they’re getting any better. Yes, Sydney’s perpetual motion success machine demonstrated what happens when you never enter a rebuild, and yes, they will play finals football this year, barring a series of catastrophic knee injuries.

Particularly as James Tedesco has finally been moved out of the Blues side this year. Only three years too late.

I would like the NRL to take note, however – a glorious 3pm timeslot, a Sydney team, and the green-eyed monsters, with no hope of winning, showed out in force. 18,000 souls packed Bruce Stadium, and the atmosphere – at least for the first 20-25 minutes - was electric.

In fact, after Hudson Young crossed for a late try in the second half, the crowd exploded in a way that I haven’t heard since the 2019 prelim final. And Canberra, considering the circumstances, I am so proud of you. That is what makes the green faithful, in my eyes, some of the best fans in the country.

(Even as the Roosters returned serve within two sets and sucked all the Raiders’ momentum up with an industrial vacuum cleaner.)

But, even considering the hefty defeat, and the jeering of Roosters fans (and, oh boy, did they jeer), the free hit season has, so far, delivered above expectations.

Ethan Strange is developing nicely, I think Kaeo sports is shaping up to be Jamal’s long-term successor, and Canberra’s generation next are turning into legitimate, experienced, and effective first graders.

As my father wisely pointed out – whilst this game wasn’t winnable, in two years with a more experienced side (and the Roosters losing some more key pieces to attrition), this same fixture is very much winnable. And whilst that might sound pathetic to supporters of successful clubs like the Storm, the Roosters, and the Broncos, just remember, the bill will eventually come due for your club, too.

And then you’ll be just. Like. Me.

Or, more realistically, you’ll stop going to the games, scrap the digital supporter membership you bought, and deny all knowledge of “The Sydney City Roosters”.

But me, Dad, and the rest of the green faithful?

We’ll be here.

Anyway, this weekend the Raiders travel to Redcliffe to take on the (definitely not) Redcliffe Dolphins. The ‘Phins are most definitely up, and they’ll be smarting from a loss to the Warriors – but because Queensland is willing to give new blood a try, and not pick on “loyalty”, they’re missing a few heavy hitters.

We’ll see how that all shakes out.

Catch you next time,

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