NYC Match Report: Dragons smash Raiders
The Canberra Raiders’ NYC side continued their disappointing slide down the Toyota Cup ladder after falling 50-12 to the St George Illawarra Dragons at Canberra Stadium yesterday evening.
A lacklustre first half proved the telling factor in the loss, as the Dragons raced away to a 34-6 lead at the commencement of the first stanza and the home side was always going to find it tough to fight back from there.
A first half hatrick to St George winger Kyle Martens spelled grave fears for Canberra’s defence as the home side was unable to adapt to the quick interchanges of passing down either edge, coupled with the pace of the Dragons outside backs.
The young Raiders’ season was delicately poised after sliding down to tenth on the ladder after last week’s loss to the Storm, and with finals ambitions still a prominent desire this fixture loomed as crucial a game as any for Coach David Hamilton’s side.
Given the importance of the game, Hamilton decided to shake things up for this week’s fixture, calling his troops in for a mid-week bonding camp to instil some pride back into the team.
“It’s a massive, massive disappointment,” Hamilton said.
“We did a lot of soul searching through the week and I was feeling good about what we did during the week in regards to our preparation which makes it even more disappointing. That first half was just disgraceful. I honestly thought that we just gave up.”
Lock forward Tom Murphy agreed with his coach.
“Words can’t even describe that first half, we just got steamrolled. They wanted it more in the end I guess. We went into camp on Tuesday and it was a really good preparation but it goes for nothing after what we showed tonight. Hopefully we can grow from it and come back better next week against the Warriors.
Canberra started the second half with renewed vigour and were the better side for the majority but were simply unable to capitalise with any points despite their momentum and possession.
Their lone try came from Sami Sauiluma in the 58th minute after the centre burst onto a sublime Nathan Massey short ball for his tenth try of the season.
However a three try onslaught in the space of five minutes inspired by 2011 Australian Schoolboy fullback Evander Cummins, who scored two and set up another in that period, put the nail in the coffin for the Raiders.
“We started out too slow today. We had a big week at training and tried to put some pride back into the team,” lamented man of the match Jack Wighton before turning his focus towards next week’s clash with the top of the table New Zealand Warriors.
“We’ve got New Zealand next week so we’ll aim to go across the border and stick it to them and get the win.”
Hamilton will no doubt make some changes for the forthcoming game as semi final aspirations slip further and further from their grasp with every loss the side endures.
“I’m not even thinking about semi finals at the moment we just need to concentrate on winning the next game. To be honest with you, the way we’re performing we probably don’t deserve to be there though. It’s up to them how bad they want it.”
“They’ll do their own stats for the game and then throw it in the bin and move on for next week. There’s going to be some changes; we’ve got to. We can’t keep giving blokes repeat chances because that’s what we’ve been doing for the last few weeks.”Source: raiders.com.au