Raiders 2014 season in review
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.