Ricky’s wrecking crew!
Raiders say Panthers pummelling has them primed to bash the Storm
Iosia Soliola and Shannon Boyd made a statement last Saturday night – and you can bet the likes of Jesse Bromwich, Jordan McLean and Dale Finucane were taking note.
In the first 20 minutes, the Raiders’ enforcers bashed the Penrith big men out of the game with brutal defence. Strongly supported by Josh Papalii, Junior Paulo and Elliott Whitehead, they laid the foundation for the Green Machine’s 22-12 win.
Speaking to RLW after the game, Soliola grins when asked about those opening exchanges.
“We know they’ve got some big forwards so we wanted to go out there and make sure they didn’t make early metres and I thought we did that really well,” he says.
“[Boyd and I] try and challenge each other … Our job is to lay the platform for the boys and I thought we did that well in the first half.
“‘Boydy’ put on a couple of good shots, Junior [Paulo] made some damaging runs, and those sorts of things lift the team.”
As their attention turns to the Storm, skipper Jarrod Croker says that physicality in the middle third will be vital if they’re to upset the minor premiers in Melbourne. It worked for them in round 23, when they defended like demons in a 22-8 win over Cam Smith and co.
“The boys find energy when they see blokes like Sia and Boydy fly out of the line and put a shot on,” Croker tells
RLW from the winning sheds. “I thought Boydy was really good.
He had to come on when ‘Bato’ [Luke Bateman] came off with a head knock so we got a fair few minutes out of big ‘Pig’ and he’s been great all year.
“Against a side like Penrith they really make you work hard, especially around the middle. Melbourne are the same, so it was great to see that the boys stuck tight because we’ll need to win the battle in the middle again next week.”
Panthers’ prop Jeremy Latimore felt the ferocity first-hand, and he admits they couldn’t go with them, particularly early.
“Paulo, Boyd and Soliola were just blasting us through the middle.”
BASH BROTHERS Iosia Soliola and Shannon Boyd (inset) have brought the intimidation to the Raiders’ pack.