Raiders post 31-0 victory over Bowen
THE Proserpine Whitsunday Raiders got their season off to a good start with the annual pre-season Magee’s Cup clash against their regional counterparts the Bowen Mudcrabs on Friday night.
It was the first game for 2014 head coach Isitolo Maka who was pleased to take out the illusive Magee’s Cup and see the final score rest at 31-0 to the Raiders at the Whitsunday Sports Park on Friday night.
Opening the scoreboard was a dazzling run from fullback Martin Roveda who showed his usual determination of attacking the try line.
But it was a team effort with Luke “Grassy” Griffiths proving he is still the master of trickery when he dummied to grubber kick near the line and skirted through an open gap to score under the posts.
The forwards were put to the test in their lineouts, rucks and mauls during the hit out as scrummaging was off the agenda due to the new match surface.
The game was also shortened in the second half to 20 minutes to protect the grounds in the wet conditions.
Special thanks must go to referee Bret Regan who drove selflessly up from Bowen to call the shots in the highly anticipated clash.
With many new season players joining the ranks, the Whitsunday Raiders squad has maintained great depth with championship players Bill Pratt, Matt Sammut, Jack Loft, Tosh Pidgeon, Ollie Andrew, Tana Fatu, Shayne Marriner, Bill Crossley, Graham West, Madison French and Dom Kermac returning to the field this year.
All players also gave a warm welcome to 18-yearold Daniel Hayes who is now the second player to break into the senior ranks from the mighty Whitsunday Junior Raiders.
Prior to half time, the Raiders put together some strong play with Logan “Jack” Raitt crashing through to score handsomely making the half time score 26 to nil.
Despite going down to the Raiders, the Bowen Mudcrabs have stepped up their determination in 2014 and by no means did the final score line indicate their enthusiasm or competitiveness.
Bowen proved this in the second half with the Raiders having to work hard for the single try.
Dashing new winger Stuart Berry was the one to get over the score line after terrific backline play of Shannon Wolland and Berry’s fellow newcomers Josh Brock, Matthew Eldridge and Scot Duran.
The pre-season hit out was good practice for both teams who will be competing in a 15-a-side round robin carnival in Moranbah on April 5.
The boys will be facing off against teams from Mackay and Central Highlands to raise funds for the Moranbah clubhouse which burnt down.
The first match of the 2014 Mackay District Rugby Union competition will be held in May.
BIG CLASH: Whitsunday Raiders player Madison French hit a wall of defense during his side's 31-0 victory over the Bowen Mudcrabs on Friday night. Photo by Sharron Pratt
NEW RECRUITS: Proserpine Whitsunday Raiders players Daniel Hayes, Matthew Eldridge, coach Isitolo Maka, Scott Gerrard, Josh Brock and Stuart 'Spud' Berry after their impressive 31-0 victory over Bowen at the Whitsunday Sports Park on Friday night.