Raiders 2014 sea­son in re­view

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

THE Whit­sun­day Raiders con­quered all be­fore them in the 2014 Mackay and Dis­trict Rugby Union sea­son, fin­ish­ing the year un­de­feated while also de­fend­ing their 2013 crown to claim back-to-back premier­ships.

As far as re­sults go it was the per­fect out­come for Whit­sun­day, who capped off a mirac­u­lous year by down­ing Mackay City Red­skins 39-3 at Quarry Hill in the de­cider.

Over­all the Raiders won 14 from 14 matches, well and truly ce­ment­ing their claim as the com­pe­ti­tion’s best out­fit.

De­spite the rel­a­tive ease in which the team ap­peared to dust aside op­po­nents, it wasn’t al­ways smooth sail­ing inside club doors.

“It was a dis­jointed sea­son with the coach [Isitolo Maka] leav­ing,” re­place­ment coach Kon Fla­herty said.

“It pushed us around a bit. Then we all de­cided to put in one week at train­ing and work to­wards some­thing. It was prob­a­bly our third or fourth game of the sea­son.”

From there Whit­sun­day didn’t look back, rack­ing up fright­en­ing score lines while also keep­ing its op­po­nents to nil on seven oc­ca­sions.

“We just took it one game at a time, work­ing to­wards fi­nals,” Fla­herty said.

“Each week we put more into it and built to­wards fi­nals. I think tak­ing it one game at a time did the trick.”

Fla­herty said the key fac­tor in the year’s per­for­mance was ev­ery mem­ber of the club buy­ing into a goal and strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“We had a vi­sion to­wards what we wanted to achieve,” he said.

“Ev­ery­one was on the same page. We have in­di­vid­u­ally good play­ers but we had a clear path­way and that was the main thing – keep­ing the group to­gether and fo­cussing on our goal.”

Of all the highs in the sea­son, Fla­herty took the most pride in the club de­fend­ing its ti­tle won in 2013.

“It’s a big hon­our and that was prob­a­bly the big­gest thing,” he said.

“Ev­ery­one was com­mit­ted to work­ing to­wards that and it was ev­i­dent in the way we went about it. Ev­ery­one was pretty spent at the end of it all. Across the park ev­ery­one put in the ef­fort. All the com­bined ef­fort makes it spe­cial...hope­fully we can get ev­ery­one to do the same next year.”

The club held its pre­sen­ta­tion night last month where a host of play­ers and club fig­ures were ac­knowl­edged.

Peter Chen­gody (Club Per­son of the Year), Josh Brock (Best Back), Brook Cad­wal­lader (Best For­ward and Ham­mer), Jack Now­ell (Nut­ter), Madi­son French (Figjam), Matt Sam­mut (Most Im­proved), Matt Elderidge (Coach’s Award), Alex Cousin (Play­ers’ Player) and Shan­non Wol­land (Raider of the Year) each picked up ti­tles.

CHAM­PI­ONS AGAIN: Whit­sun­day Raiders' Scott Vella, Daniel Hayes, Jack Raitt, Bill Pratt, Dom Cro­ker, Jack Now­ell, Alex Cousin, Scott Coster, Agustin Lian, Madi­son French, Luke Bar­nao, Ol­lie An­drew, Matt Sam­mutt, Matt Eldridge, Jack Loft, Tosh Pid­geon, Bill Cross­ley, Ron Cro­ker, Car­son French, Tai Roberts, (front) James Smith, Peter Chen­gody, Luke Grif­fiths, Scott Ger­rand, Graeme West, Shan­non Wol­land, Shayne Mar­riner, Martin Roveda, Josh Brock, Brook Cad­wal­lader, Kon Fla­herty, Trent El­son and Dom Ker­mac cel­e­brate back-to-back premier­ships at the week­end. Photo Shar­ron Pratt.

LEG DRIVE: Whit­sun­day Raiders' life mem­ber Bill Pratt charges for­ward against Mackay City ear­lier this year.

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