Raiders huge win in Toyota Cup
An outstanding display from the Canberra Raiders Under 20s forward pack enabled their side to dominate all facets of play in the 46-14 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Canberra Stadium yesterday.
After a wretched concoction of unfortunate luck, injuries, first grade promotions and disappointing performances, Coach David Hamilton’s side enjoyed their first win since they defeated the Parramatta Eels 40-30 in Round 16.
“It’s been a while mate. I’m surprised we even remembered the words of the team song,” laughed Hamilton.
“It makes a tremendous difference to the whole side when Boydy [Shannon Boyd], Uiti [Baker] and [Paul] Vaughan carry the ball forward like they did today. They chewed some good metres out there.”
All three each made more than 120 metres individually and backed this up with several bruising hits in defence to stamp their authority on the nine tries to three victory. Shannon Boyd was particularly brutal, earning man of the match honours.
“It’s good to sing that Green Machine song again we haven’t song it in quite a few weeks,” said Captain Tom Murphy.
“We had a really good start to the game. Our big boys, especially Shannon, went hard and really laid the platform and the backs reaped the rewards from them and our halves who played with good shape.”
The Green Machine lead thirty-four nil at half time with the lead built on controlled possession that was put to efficient use. Canberra enjoyed 64% of possession in the first stanza and brilliantly completed 97% of this. This effective completion rate forced South Sydney to complete 165 tackles compared to the Raiders’ 89 and permitted the Raiders to break the tiring Rabbitohs line nine times.
The Canberra forward pack’s supremacy around the ruck area allowed many benefits to flow throughout the team, with young halves Mitchell Cornish and Ryan Gowing given enough momentum to dictate proceedings effectively and Jack Ahearn and Michael Chee Kam able to cross for a hatrick and a double respectively.
“The boys turned up to play today and I was just lucky enough to be in the right spot at the right time for my meat pies,” said fullback Ahearn who also ran for 143 metres.
“The forwards were awesome today. It makes my job so much easier running on the back of offloads from Uiti, Boydy and Vaughan. They just make it so easy for me.”
Ahearn’s combination with his halves and hooker Ben Picker was a calming influence and allowed the team to play with structure and purpose.
“The halves directed play well. Everyone knew what we had to do and where we had to get to. We’ve been through the whole Raiders system together so we’ve been playing with each other for a while. Hopefully we can keep this combination together for next year,” said Ahearn.
And it’s looking like it will, according to Hamilton.
“We’re going to retain that crucial spine next year and several key forwards so that’s what we’re looking at and it’s pretty exciting.”
With the young Raiders’ finals chances appearing slender, Hamilton is looking to finish the year off strongly to provide the impetus for a fruitful 2012.
“We’ve got to keep building from this. I want to finish the year with three wins from the remaining three games. We’re still mathematically a very slim chance of making the finals but those wins will definitely give us confidence for next year.”
Murphy echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“Those young players in key positions definitely puts the side in good stead for next year so it’s going to be good for the club to build a team around them. We’ve still got a bit of pride to play for this year though so we’ll travel to the Gold Coast next week to back it up again with another performance like today.”Source: Raiders.com.au