How about that, eh? The Raiders win their first game in eight weeks (including the bye round, admittedly).

Now all the imaginary detractors can come out of the woodwork and provide me the rebuttal to my good chemicals. The Broncos are a bad footy team, the Raiders still haven't stood up when it counts, throw a rock.

But like Dennis C says, nothing really feels better than a big win like that when you haven't seen the light for two and a half months. For the nearly 10,000 people in the stadium, it was party time for the frozen Raider faithful and they loved it. They deserve to feel good.

But they deserve to feel good for more than one reason. In a month from hell when Ricky has lost the dressing room, George Williams departed in terrible circumstances and Curtis Scott got stood down - not to mention Josh Hodgson trashing the club in the papers - the Raiders did something I didn't expect them to do. I also didn't see this result coming. Honestly.

There was something wholesome about the Raider performance. Heroes like Sam Williams coming from the pages of history and linking up with local, "unproved" (more on that later) rookies to stand up, be counted and provide a performance that was rock solid. Mostly. There are still some issues in defence, but, bugger it - I want to have my cake this week.

Now the status quo doesn't change. It's a good performance, but the Raiders are still out of touch with the eight. Ricky is still under pressure and another thumping at the hands of a footy side that isn't sitting in fifteenth will continue to warm the irons. There's also nothing left in the tank for the Raiders. This is it.

So I'll enjoy it whilst I can - and the players who stood up tonight (again, more on that later) should hopefully take a lot out of it. But we're a long way from home, and we're a long way from solid ground. Maybe after a few strong performances against sides that aren't going through a tumble-dryer of halves pairings, too.

The Parting Shot

So normally this is the sequence of words where either I slander the opposition team for playing poorly or come up with some other nasty thing to throw in the other team's face.

It helps that no-one reads this junk, therefore I can say whatever I like (within reason) and no-one will say "no, you're wrong, moron.". Just the way I like it.

But here's the truth about Brisbane and the Broncos. The NRL needs Queensland and the Broncos to be successful. Yes, that sentence hurt to type and yes, that doesn't make it any less true. Rugby League's heartland, even though I barrack for New South Wales, is in Queensland. I'm not just taking about the upper echelon of players, I'm talking about everyone.

Yes you can say that NSW's superstars are better than Queensland - I have 50 reasons that's true. But consider all the different players out there who haven't scored a spot at that illustrious table filling spots in rosters. The two young guns (that Brisbane let go) in Sam Walker and Reece Walsh spring to mind, but there are plenty of other examples.

You ask how many young Queensland kids grew up idolising players like Jonathan Thurston, Darren Lockyer, Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday. Queensland sports fans go to Suncorp and fill out stadiums - regular season spectacles on Friday night. Or at least that was supposed to be the case, until the Broncos had a series of bad beats, poor management decisions and decided the only way to fix things was a good old fashioned implosion.

Even with Sydney sides being the cream of the crop, sportsfans in NSW (we're talking big market Sydney here, not Penrith) have tiny attendances. When the Raiders were rolling last year, they had most of the Sydney sides crushed for average attendance.

So the point I'm laboring to make here, though it hurts, is that Brisbane needs to get its act together, and soon - or the entirety of the NRL will suffer the consequences.

Vulkan Medal Points

Man of the Match - Semi Valemei (2pts)

I umm'd and ahh'd about this one, because all the members of the Raider backline had an outstanding night. They ripped in and charged up the field kickstarting every attacking set, just about. But there was one winger who stood head and shoulders above the rest, and, well, no prizes for guessing who that was.

Either clearly underestimated, or not studied hard enough, Semi burst out of the backfield in every set of circumstances, ran hard, took tough carries and was rewarded with a try off of a bit of magic from Bailey Simmonsson and if he hasn't locked down a place in the backline after that performance, well, I don't know what to tell you.

Le Hidden Gem - Matthew Timoko (1pt)

So when I heard the news that Curtis Scott had (allegedly) punched someone's lights out at the worst entertainment venue in Canberra (in my opinion, please don't sue), I panicked. Then I saw the team list and I knew.

I knew because Matt Timoko is as strong as an Ox.

Much like his other bash brother in Semi, he took strong carries, bust his opponents open out wide - he's a future star, be it here or at another club. But this shouldn't be news to the Raider faithful - he has form in doing this in his other two games at first grade level. Kid's a young gun bull and proved it again tonight.

Catch you next time,

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