Raiders vs Kowloon Brothers 16th Feb 2019
By Kenneth Carnduff
On a day that can only be described as too hot to be a linesman, Raiders travelled across to KP hoping to get a win to bring them off the bottom of the table and into a more favourable playoff spot.
Raiders started strong, showing good physicality and made their way into the Loon 22. Playing the patterns paid off and they were rewarded with a penalty 10m out. Paddy Balfour hit back to the blind side before shipping a pass to the impressive ever-youthful Josh Wrafter who bashed his way over. McKenzie slotted the kick making it 7-0 to Raiders in the first 90 seconds.
A high tackle shortly after the kickoff gave Loon a penalty. Raiders defended well and won a penalty of their own. Some good back play followed from the lineout, only to fizzle out when it got near Pete Budd. Good defence and another quickly taken penalty saw Connor go over in a very similar fashion to the first try. McKenzie once again slotting; 14-0 Raiders.
Loon ignoring the words of the referee to stay behind the kicker gave possession back on the halfway. A penalty was awarded off the back of the scrum, and once again Raiders were in the 22. A series of good runs took Raiders 5m out, and Elton Cheng stepped round the Loon guard to go over just next to the posts. McKenzie once again converted to make it 21-0.
A knock on from the give off gave Loon a scrum in the 22. Some over-eager defending let their 9 step inside before offloading to the support who went over. Loon converted making it 21-7.
Conor Slattery made way for Matt Jones who immediately was sent on a crash ball, winning a penalty in the process. Raiders opted for the quick tap again, this time with no score at the end of it. Loon played out of their 22, and another high tackle saw Kaiwan receive a yellow card. Raiders, however, showed good defence and a loose ball from a tackle saw Josh hack it through and dotting down for his second. 28-7.
Raiders came close again just before half time but Loon defence held out.
The second half pace slowed as my sunburn grew. Loon played with a lot more possession, but the Raiders defence never looked particularly troubled. Raiders had their final breakthrough of the game midway through; Kaiwan making up for the earlier yellow with a good pick and go to cross just to the right of the poles. McKenzie once again converting.
Solid set pieces and an excellent first half performance took the game away from Loon early on, and they never looked like they would catch up. The Paddy-Josh Wrafter axis controlled the game well and some strong performances from some of the (much) younger lads, including MOTM for Connor Schmidt. McKenzie put in a good kicking display and was lucky to not be fined for arrogance for making 5 from 5.
Raiders look to make it another win at KP next week where they play top of the pile Tigers.
Up the Bay.
From Mark Norris