What we learned: Titans v Raiders
Titans v Raiders
Josh McCrone of the Raiders looks dejected. Photo: Matt Roberts
GOLD COAST TITANS 36 (A Kelly 2, M Srama 2, G Bird, K Gordon tries; A Sezer 6 goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 0 at Skilled Park. Referees: Adam Devcich, Henry Perenara. Crowd: 12,267.
3 Albert Kelly
2 Aidan Sezer
1 Nate Myles
THE MISSING LINKS
How the Raiders would respond to the sacking of their highest-paid star was always going to be the biggest question mark. The early evidence says badly. Not that Josh Dugan would’ve turned the Raiders around from a dismal mob into a decent side, but the unwanted distraction certainly appeared to weigh on the team. Reece Robinson didn’t have many opportunities at fullback and is still their best option in the No.1 jersey, showing great determination to chase down opposite number Will Zillman a metre out from the try-line. We’ll have to wait and see whether the hefty loss will result in Blake Ferguson being rushed back from Mounties earlier than expected.
THE HORROR HALF
First halves don’t get any worse than the dreadful 40 minutes the Raiders dished up on the Gold Coast. David Furner’s men made every mistake imaginable and found themselves down 12-0 after just eight minutes. Error after error piled on the misery, and by the break they had conceded five unanswered tries and trailed 30-0. The stats make for nightmare reading – the Raiders missed 18 tackles to five and made 359m compared to the Gold Coast’s 669m. A worrying sign will be it’s the fifth straight time the Raiders have conceded first points, and ninth time in the last 10 games. File this video with an R rating for extreme horror.
The only positive to take out of Sunday’s train wreck is the impeding arrival of their bogey side. The St George Illawarra Dragons will run out on to Canberra Stadium in six days’ time attempting to win their first game in the national capital since 2000. All up, the Raiders have won 13 of their past 14 games against the Dragons, who are also winless after the first two rounds. Both sides will be under enormous pressure, with mounting speculation about the future of Dragons coach Steve Price. If there’s a perfect time for the Dragons to be coming to town, it’s this week.
THE BLOWN CHANCES
Absolutely nothing went right for the Raiders. In the rare moments when they managed to hang on to the ball long enough to build pressure, they made crucial errors at the wrong time. Second-rower Josh Papalii looked to get the Raiders on the scoreboard straight after the half-time break, only for the ball to pop out as he went to ground it over the line. Edrick Lee was another to have a chance slip through his hands, not being able to latch on to a pass from a flying Jarrod Croker with the try-line in sight. They can also consider themselves stiff for Matt Srama’s second try getting the green light despite the Titans hooker appearing to be short of the line.
THE SCHOOLBOY ERRORS
Failing to play the ball properly, simple knock-ons, kicking out on the full – the Raiders committed errors under-8s would be berated for. Every player would be well versed to practice the basics after the most inept performance in the early stages of the new season. How much the searing 30-degree heat and the Dugan factor had is anyone’s guess. But the Raiders won’t use either as an excuse as they look to rectify their 0-2 record.