At the start of the year many of the experts had the Canberra Raiders taking out the title in 2017, oh how wrong they were. It’s not all over yet but things just haven’t worked for the Green Machine thus far in 2017.
Last season, the Raiders finished in second place and came within an inch of a grand final. Last season they scored the most points out of any team by a country mile, while this season point scoring is not their main issue of concern, they sit third in the category this season but their general play does not look nowhere near as slick as it did last season.
Canberra last season were making metres galore but this season they currently sit 14th in that stat only running for just 24188 metres thus far. Their forward pack is not rolling like it did last season, they just need to simplify things more. Junior Paulo is playing larger minutes but is not running the ball as much, Shannon Boyd seems to be down on form and
fitness and their bench rotation is not as strong as it was last season.
The halves of the Raiders are not performing at all this season. Aidan Sezer has only forced five dropouts all season and has only had five try assists all season, while Blake Austin has only assisted three tries. They sit 14th for forced drop outs and were 13th for being tackled inside the opposition’s 20. Last season the Raiders halves were not outstanding but they were much better than they have been this season, a simple switch of sides which Austin moves to the left and Sezer to the right may just be the ingredient they need to change their form.
Their defence has been awful this season, they have leaked 331 points against them. Their mentality of ‘if you score, we can score more’ must stop. To their credit they currently have a positive for and against that may work to their advantage come the business end of the season.
Their completion rate is way down and is among the worst in the competition. The number that sums up their stuttering NRL season is 15. That’s where they rank for completion rates in the NRL with just 73 per cent. They’ve also made the fifth most errors in the competition.
They currently sit 11th and three wins behind eighth-placed Parramatta, they need to win at least six of those games to play finals if they’re going to sneak into a finals berth.
However, it seems to be a season what could have been with the Raiders losing six of seven with the game being decided by six points or less. Win half of those and they are sitting comfortably in the top eight.
The Green Machine will have to rely on another late season surge to burst into the eight. They have the talent to do so, if they get on a run they can do some real damage… It’s not over yet Raiders fans.