After the Raiders got pumped by the Titans, I thought, "that was it."
I'd stop writing this blog series, I'd give it all away and then I'd only write about World of Warcraft and maybe miniatures when I get back on the horse.
(The new Beast Snagga boys look great, by the way - and I don't care if 4chan calls me a 'pay pig' - it makes me happy)
Then Sammy Williams lit the Sea Eagles up, and Xavier Savage and the young guns roasted and toasted the Sharks. At least now, by being prepared to write up when the Raiders got pasted, week after week, I now get to write up how happy I was.
As the great Dennis Carnahan once said - it's worth it to be there after being in the desert for so long.
Despite shades of "here we go again" after the Raiders struggled in the first half, followed by a try to Ronaldo Mulitalo (more on him later) in the second, the Raiders rallied late. The Sharks had no answer for the Raiders, who found energy and form in a christmas cracker, or something, and proceeded to blast past the Sharks. Off the back of standout performances from blokes who hadn't so much as had a start in first grade.
Now I'm not sure if this season is Ricky's last and the Sharks are, despite their position on the ladder, a rubbish footy team that have shed a lot of talent and will shed more at season's end. It's not even fair to say there's a line in the sand, with Ricky declaring the second half of the season started now, then getting routed by the Titans.
Even more concerning than that is Jack Wighton's drop in form. Raider fans know what he's capable of and so does the rest of the NRL - you know, because of a Clive Churchill and a Dally M. But it cannot be a coincidence that when Jack had that terrible torn pec, the rest of the side lifted.
I don't take any pleasure out of that. Jack Wighton is supposed to be this club's build-around. If he has a turn-down in form, it's only downhill for the Raiders from here. Although the Raiders, despite back to back wins, are hovering dangerously close to the drain currently anyway.
They are closing in on that free hit to close out the season, mind you.
The Parting Shot
Some clubs have an aura of 'hard-luck loser' that permeates about them, that makes this segment difficult to write. Others are feel good stories that, sometimes you can just lay down, let them run over you and that's enough.
Not for the Sharks, though.
The Sharks have always been a workman's team. They're tough, they're low to the ground (like a shark, geddit) and they excel in close games. But they haven't really ever had star power like other clubs. For god's sake, arguably their best player was Paul Gallen and deputising for him was James Maloney, who made a name for himself at the Roosters.
But despite that, they've always been the villains. It's in their DNA. They play dirty, they act dirty - they are a dirty club full of dirty players. I have special ire for Ronaldo Mulitalo, who is not only dirty, but arrogant and, let's level with each other, a bit of a dickhead.
Clapping like a seal when the Raiders made mistakes down his side of the wing, having a go at the match officials. Get stuffed. It made me happy to no end when he tried to offload the ball and turned it over, allowing for the Raiders to skip out to the lead and never hand it back.
No mercy for stooges. And no mercy for the Sharks.
Vulkan Medal Points
At some point I'll need to tally these up. Not this week, though.
Man of the Match - Xavier Savage (2pts)
Seriously. Who else could it be.
On more than one occasion, Savage busted down the front door with speed and footwork and kickstarted the Raiders in the second half. Vossy had it right when he said 'a star is born'.
But moreso than that, he played through the entire second half with a busted shoulder. He took a strong carry in the second half, for which the pain must've been excruciating. He is emblematic of Canberra's desire to win and dig deep.
I thought his try, even donated at the end by Seb Kris, was just desserts for what was a courageous and skilled performance. Well done, Xavier. Well done indeed.
Le Hidden Gem - Corey Harawira-Naera (1pt)
If it wasn't for Savage being an absolute... savage... easily the points go to Corey. Big, strong, full of running and a nightmare to handle when full of gas, he lifts the rest of the forward pack.
CHN has had some standout performances on a number of occasions - it's just that despite his heroics, the Raiders haven't been able to get the job done. Well, he laid the platform and the rest of Canberra followed.
A good win, that doesn't quite fill me with confidence, that still made me feel good on the inside. This week promises another tough test against the Eels with key outs.
Hopefully we can stop Clint Gutherson from scoring and doing that abhorrent pelvic thrust.
Catch you next time,
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