The Raiders got their win last week and to ask for anything more would just be greed. But also, the Dragons are not the Broncos. They look a lot like the Broncos, sporting a number of ex-players (I don't know if I count Jack Bird amongst them), but it's clear they're a more professional outfit. Maybe.
I mean for one thing they've got a more set halves combination. And I also really like Ben Hunt as a football player. Even though this week he used the 65km/h winds like a weapon to kick a million 40/20s. Ben Hunt deserves success - both for his natural skill and ability, but also because of his tenacity.
The one thing that I did notice was that the Raiders never gave up. There was an effort play late in the game to pickup Mikaele Ravalawa and put him into the in-goal for a line dropout. If you're slowly playing a game into defeat, you don't do that. It's a shame that the Raiders are going without reward for their effort, but, that is football.
It also advances the doomsday player exodus. Currently on the list of likely departing players will be Hodgson and Tapine - but as the seat gets warmer, expect that list to grow.
What is becoming clearer is the need for a post-season review. Not mid-season, as there is still football to lose, but definitely analysis of the front office. The Raiders are unlikely to spill their guts to the public, but I'm sure they'd like to know internally where it all got away from them.
Though the Raiders did have a chance to steal into the eight tonight, let us still be crystal clear about that outcome. Slot in eighth, travel to another team's stadium and get dunked on for eighty minutes. A free hit at this point would be potentially worse than just fading into obscurity.
I think the Raiders are on the right track. The same weaknesses are there for all to see - once again outscored in the second half, but this time they produced points. They lasted maybe fifty to sixty minutes instead of deactivating when they got into the sheds. What that is in aid of I don't know, but I suspect it's match fitness related.
The Parting Shot
Finally, an easy segment to write.
It's good that Jack Bird has remained injury free in his time at the Dragons. For a moment I almost felt good for him - until he stuck his elbow into Sebastian Kris' head.
Now whilst I'm not in the mood to blame the NRL officials - hands off - I will totally blame the NRL itself for not allowing the 18th man to come on when a player is concussed by foul play. I don't know if Xavier Savage would've made a difference, but who am I to deny the Raiders a fresh pair of legs after Jack Bird smashed Seb Kris.
Very frustrating - and very dirty from Jack Bird.
As for the rest of the Dragons, well, they've improved, but they haven't quite improved enough and they're not going to improve enough to take on the top end of town. Dragons fans should be happy with their team, but should also be aware that eventually they'll be embarassingly pummelled off of the field by the Panthers, the Rabbitohs or the Storm.
So that was the football game in brief. I'd give out Vulkan Medal points, but, no-one really stood out. It doesn't help that Matt Timoko barely saw the ball and Semi had some good runs but couldn't get anything going either.
Next week's matchup will be an interesting one. The Titans - are they improving? Have they improved? Will their attack click? Will the Raiders scrape together their sixth win of the season? Lots of questions, that we'll get some predictable answers to later in the piece.
Catch you next time,
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