Raiders continue march

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT - ANGELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

EQUAL sec­ond is not enough for the Dou­glas Reef Raiders, who af­ter a gutsy win against In­n­is­fail Vik­ings last Satur­day are primed for a se­ri­ous tilt at the pre­mier­ship.

Bar­ron Trin­ity Bulls are cur­rently in first place and the Raiders are tied with Broth­ers af­ter their 19-18 win last week­end, de­spite a string of in­juries and play­ing with no re­serves.

The Raiders lost cap­tain Si­mon Chick, who was taken to hospi­tal to re­ceive stitches be­low and above his eye, then fol­low­ing the loss of back­row­ers Matty Crock­ett and Marty Paulger in the open­ing min­utes, they were forced to play with­out any re­serves.

In­n­is­fail put in a tough game but the Raiders played even tougher to se­cure their win and have a well-de­served break with a bye this week­end, which will help the play­ers get over their in­juries, ready for their fi­nal two games be­fore fi­nals.

Coach Adrian Ban­ner­man said the team re­ally be­lieved in them­selves and that helped to kick­start an epic sea­son, but they will not get ahead of them­selves and will continue to take the sea­son game by game.

“We went through bit of a form slump over the last cou­ple of weeks but got back in the win­ner’s circle and our big­gest los­ing mar­gin has only been 13 points - to go through the sea­son like that I’m more than happy,” he said.

“It’s been a hard slog but now we don’t have to win ev­ery game to make the semis and now it’s down to the boys, the fi­nals is a dif­fer­ent game of football to when you’ve played dur­ing the sea­son.

“They’re more than ready but we’re only tak­ing it one week at a time, that’s what we said at the start of the year and no use go­ing too far ahead of our­selves.”

Ban­ner­man said all of the team have been play­ing to their po­ten­tial but there are a few stand­outs in the pack.

“Clint Kachel had a big year, win­ning back to back man of the matches and Matty Crock­ett and Cameron Smith came in half­way through the sea­son and gave ex­tra di­men­sion in the for­ward pack,” he said.

“In the backs Grae Gil­berts had a pretty much stand­out sea­son this year and Ethan Hoffman came over from the Sharks and gave us young blood and put new en­thu­si­asm into the back­line.”

Af­ter a bye week­end the Raiders will have the two fi­nal games both away on Au­gust 4 against JCU Mariners and Au­gust 11 against ri­vals Broth­ers.

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