1 Hodgson back spurs Raiders attack
Brought on in the 22nd minute with the score at 12-4 to the Tigers and Josh Hodgson blew the Tigers apart. His kicking game and tactical nous around the ruck tore the Tigers to shreds. He laid on a try for Papalii just 4 minutes after coming on and ended the match with 2 try assists, 2 line break assists, 44 running meters and 102 kicking meters.
The result, a complete revolution of the Canberra side who were energized by Hodgson's efforts. He lightened the load on Sezer and Austin's shoulders and the whole team was lifted by his inclusion.
In the second half the Raiders of 2016 reappeared laying on 38 second half points and playing Harlem Globetrotters football that had everyone amazed. If not for the referees intervention they would have ended the match with over half a century.
2 Despite interventions from Greenberg, refereeing getting no better
Todd Greenberg has come out in recent weeks to overturn some rulings earlier in the season that left fans baffled. The pass into players laying near the ruck has been amended however amongst rules that are still ludicrous is the obstruction interpretation.
Twice the Raiders were nearly cruelled of stunning tries thanks to the video ref believing a Raider had interfered with the play so much so that a Tiger had no fair chance of making a tackle. When Wighton went over straight off the kick off the crowd was in raptures along with fans captivated by their enterprising play. Sent upstairs the bunker confirmed the worst news possible a definite try was going to be overruled. Despite correctly ruling on it for Shannon Boyd's try they then still managed to deny the try due to an incorrect call of held up.
Greenberg desperately needs to leave the game alone as it seems the more he tries to fox the game the worse it becomes. Referees generally have a decent understanding of the game however with obstruction rules constantly changing the blokes have no chance. Needs to take a step back and have someone else make the on field officiating rules.
3 Tigers season falling away
Started the season by winning five of their six matches and against the likes of the Storm and Roosters and a narrow loss to the Broncos many believed the Tigers may have just enough to make the eight. Now nine rounds later and they have just two more wins to their name and are now sitting outside the top eight.
With the Broncos, Sharks, Raiders, Roosters and Storm all above jostling for positions from 9th to 5th it seems unlikely that the Tigers will play finals football this year. Chris Lawrence going down today won't help that either as Brooks is relied upon too heavily.
They play the Titans, Dragons, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Knights and then Raiders for their next six clashes with just two of those at home. They need a minimum of four wins for mine to be any chance of salvaging a spot in the eight. Either way this season has been a positive for them with many predicting them to get the wooden spoon.
4 Effort cannot be questioned, Tigers lacking strike across park
Marsters, Fonua and Thompson ran for a combined 466 metres and each alleviated the pressure coming out of their own end. Brooks kicking game was on point and produced three dropouts from the Raiders. The entire team is clearly buying into Cleary's gameplan and they are better off for it.
However they lack attacking punch across the ground, a player that can produce something out of nothing when required. Thompson is a solid broken field player but won't break open a game and Brooks cannot do everything on his own. Everyone saw today what one inspirational winner can do for a team with Hodgson deciding the outcome, and the Tigers don't have that player at present.
Ultimately it has decided their fate for 2018 and could continue to do so until they find a solution.
5 Raiders surge too little, too late?
The Raiders next six fixtures are the Broncos, Bulldogs, Cowboys, Sharks, Storm and Panthers, with just one of those at home. At the moment they have won twice away from home with four losses. Whilst their combination play will inevitably get better with Hodgson's return, I doubt the togetherness of the side. As opposed to table-topping Rabbitohs who look like they would do anything for each other.
They welcome back Junior Paulo in round 18 and Jordan Rapana in Round 22 and Rapana's absence especially may be crucial when coming against tougher opponents than the Tigers.
They currently sit on 14 points with a bye in hand, it is estimated that 26 points may be enough meaning five wins from here. That is five wins from nine games. Whilst not impossible they come up against some competition heavyweights for successive weeks which could decide their season. A couple of losses in a row and they may feel defeated, prove me wrong Green Machine and delight the Rugby League world with your football!
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