Ricky’s wreck­ing crew!

Raiders say Panthers pum­melling has them primed to bash the Storm

Rugby League Week - - News - BY JOE MC­DONOUGH

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.

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