Usually after a Raiders win, I take the opportunity to rub it in to the opposition but after last night’s game, I’m not sure I can do it. The Knights are just too pathetic to make fun of. They make the Eels look like the second-worst team in the comp.
Dave Furner was so confident of beating the Knights last night that he let the team take the week off training before the game to holiday on the central coast. After seeing the Knights in action, it was obvious why he was so relaxed.
The Raiders charged out from the first whistle, as the best 5/8th in NSW, Josh Dugan, orchestrated a couple of tries before most Knights fans had found their seats (admittedly, finding your seat requires some reading and use of numbers, which are big challenges for the average Novocastrian).
Then, despite a mountain of possession in the second half (generously provided by some creatively biased refereeing), the Knights could not overcome the passionate Raiders defence. Time and time again, the Knights pounded away at the Raiders’ line but were repelled through tenacity and teamwork.
It was hard to work out which one of Newcastle’s overrated players was the most hopeless. Danny Buderus, brought back to the NRL amidst great hype, showed that any success he’s had in rugby league can be directly attributed to playing the majority of his career with Andrew Johns. While Willie Mason and Timana Tahu showed even Andrew Johns couldn’t make them look good, and Neville Costigan might as well have shredded his own contract.
But, in the end, the award for worst Newcastle player has to go to 5/8th, Jarrod Mullen, who carried the ball for an incredible 4m all game. Seriously: 4m. That’s one step every twenty minutes. Don’t hold your breath for a NSW recall, pal.
The interesting thing is that this season should have been a good one for the Knights because Kurt Gidley is out for the year with a shoulder injury. Never has there been a player in the NRL who is as consistently rubbish in every single position as Gidley and, without him dragging them down, 2012 could have been the Knights’ year. Apparently, they need more help than that to be competitive. Hopefully for Newcastle, Mullen will twist an ankle at training this week (though that would require running, so it seems unlikely).
The Raiders now get a week off before heading to Townsville to beat the Cowboys.
In other news: With Josh Dugan breathing down his neck for the NSW No.6 jersey, Todd Carney has vowed to make amends for his Game One shocker during Wednesday night’s second State of Origin. Carney’s normal running game, developed whilst running away from police, was absent in Game One, which he attributed to being nervous. While this may be the weakest excuse of all time, let’s be grateful that he doesn’t have the usual response to nerves: urination (because we all know he hasn’t mastered that facet of life yet.)