Raiders lose top spot
THE Port Douglas Raiders have given up top spot on the ladder after playing their worst half of the season against Brothers last Saturday.
The game was locked up at 19-all with 15 minutes remaining but not executing the game plan with ball in hand at the back end of the half saw careless errors lead to turn over ball in broken play which inhibited cover or scrambling defence being effective and the Raiders paid a big price and now sit third in the competition.
Leading 13-7 at half time, the Raiders had dominated much of the play in first 40 minutes and Brothers were fortunate that the score was not far worse for them but they scrambled well and even with the penalty count not in their favour (23-5 by the end of the game) stopped the Raiders converting possession into points.
Grae Gilbert opened the scoring with a penalty and on the back of solid and dominant forward play at the line out and scrum the Raiders pressured Brothers line relentlessly with Adam Calcraft scoring two tries from halfback, both unconverted.
With a couple of key players in the backline away with work commitments and a few niggling injuries carried into the second half, we let the game slip away with the worst 20 minutes of rugby played and probably the worst half of rugby played this year.
On the other side the Brothers did lift and with endless turnovers by the Raiders and faltering scrambling defence scored to late converted tries to end the game victors 33-19.
All focus is on training for this weeks game at home against JCU, with four new additions to the squad on Tuesday night at training the Raiders are working at redeeming themselves this weekend.
Shane Branch from the Raiders said he expects a good game.
‘‘If we play our game and stay at our game we will win,’’ he said.
‘‘Structured rugby will win the competition and that is our goal - dominate the set plays, control the breakdown and the rest will come, this gives the backs time and opportunity and they can attack the line or strategically kick for field position.’’
Omar Katana is back from injury and back from work commitments is Pete Gilmore and Dallas Abel.
Out with injury is Adam Calcraft with a dislocated thumb and Nick Sherston with a knee operation which will see him out for four weeks.
Come and enjoy some great rugby its always a big occasion between these two rugby clubs.Reserve grade is at 2.30 and the Raiders take the field at 4pm.