To readers of last week's sportsball article, I mucked my dates up - Origin II is this week, wasn't last week - so the bloodletting about the Blues and their refusal to do anything other than lose to a bunch of plucky underdogs, every year, will be delayed.

Sorry about that.

This week saw the men in green square off against the NRL's perennial failure franchise (no, not the Titans) at the stadium that can be described as "A place to play football" - Campbelltown.

Wests Tigers fans should not take too much of the drivel that comes out of my mouth as gospel - after all, I was proudly declaring Benji Marshall "wasn't it, chief" on the subreddit after the Raiders beat the Tigers earlier in the year.

Not just that, but it's been so long since the Tigers have been a good footy team. No finals appearances in more than a decade, a string of high-profile, do-nothing signings, and a roulette wheel of coaches that have ranged from soldiers of fortune, to seat warmers, and old glories - all of whom have loudly and busily gone nowhere.

But the winds of change are very slowly blowing in Tigertown. It's taken a little while, but the (other) orange team looks to be righting the ship. A combination of wily veterans like Apisai Koroisau, alongside highly motivated young guns like Lachlan Galvin, seems to have the red-headed stepchild from Sydney's west believing - at least, in between agonising losses and poor performances that have still seen the club firmly anchored to the bottom four.

But I digress.

After a glimpse of promising form at the start of the year, Canberra have steadily fallen off - before the Tigers flipped the script, the Raiders had been on the receiving end of three 40 point losses at home, and any momentum they may have had was firmly arrested.

Historically, Wests had been somewhat of a gimmie - between their ineptitude and Canberra's siege mentality, you could often count on the Green Machine to put on a clinic, and play themselves back into form - at least for a week.

It was not to be today, as the Tigers raced away to a 12-0 lead, and were unlucky not to score twice more before the twenty minute mark. The final try in the last five minutes of the first half by Tigers felt like just reward for what was near perfect football - at least by their standards.

Jordan Rapana slotting a penalty goal in the absence of any better options meant the Raiders would trouble the scoreboard - if only on a technicality.

Whatever Ricky said to the troops at halftime - my guess being to hold the line and wait for the game to turn - clearly had no effect, as the Tigers refused to let the Raiders turn the game back in their favour, scoring inside the first five minutes, and then keeping the scoreboard ticking over steadily after that.

Alex Seyfarth had a brain-snap in the last twenty minutes, allowing Canberra to put some wallpaper over their huge cracks, even getting as close as 18 points. But yet another errant pass allowed Adam "Old Polish" Doueihi to bolt ninety meters and score at the other end.

As the best call in sports would say, "Game, Set, Bingo."

Now, I could jump up and down, and yell and scream about how I hate footy, hate my team, and wish for the inevitable heat death of the universe. But what's the point?

Again, Ricky warned us this would happen, we've been down on troops for an eternity, and we're trying to blood juniors in a tough game at the best of times. It's looking less likely the premiership window is just going to blow open over the next two seasons, particularly if Ethan Strange gets rattled by these routine heavy losses, but the only option open to the green faithful, is to hold on.

Bite down into the mouthguard, and brace for impact - because the next ten weeks are going to be absolutely brutal.

Now feels like the right time to bring up that the Raiders haven't played Penrith yet, either. If you don't like the footy now, you'll want a men-in-black style neuralyzer by the end of the season.

Chevy's on the way, Ethan's working out his kinks in first grade.
The young Raiders need time, and they need patience. And Zac Hosking's shoulder needs to heal.

Next week the Raiders take on the... Storm. Welp.

If you thought today was ugly, you might want to be somewhere else next Saturday.

Catch you next time,

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