Thursday night football was a dishes served half lit as the St George Illawarra Dragons posted a thrilling, yet at the same time very dour, 16 – 12 golden point victory over the Canberra Raiders at Kogarah.
Costly Loss: Come August the Raiders may look back at this match as a very costly loss. For a team to make the top 8 these are the sorts of matches that need to be won. The Dragons were not breathtaking by any means in their execution and dominance on the field. The fact that the Raiders were able to draw level close to full time in a match that they had made 15 errors in and simplely failed to apply consistent pressure against a team that they should have easily dispatched of is a bad sign for the Green Machine. Consistency is crucial in the NRL, this is something the Raiders need to work on to get their 2016 campaign onto more stable footing.
Lofty Heights: They have scored the least amount of points in the competition, have the second worst for and against of any team in the competition and at time in 2016 have looked as threatening in attack as a over 40’s park football side lining up for their Wednesday night social match with mates. Yet somehow the St George Illawarra Dragons currently sit in 7th place following their victory against the Raiders on Thursday night (6th if you take into consideration the Eels will drop to 16th with the deduction of their competition points). This is a team that has redefined what it means to be determined and steadfast as a unit. They are by no means the most attractive club to watch, yet week after week they continue to put in the effort and as a result, and reward to their fans, they find themselves sitting right in the mix to make an improbable run at this year finals series.
Change in attack: Brad Fittler put it simply when he stated that if teams stopped running blocking plays and put their runners behind the ball the obstruction rule would have less of an impact on the game. There is lot to be said from removing the multitude of decoys that litter the try line on attacking raids and ultimately lead to disallowed four pointers. Thursday night was no different as both teams had try’s disallowed due to errant runners deemed to be impeding the defensive line. Teams need to stop looking for the edge in every aspect of the game and get back to the simple basics that the great teams of the past have always excelled in – playing footy – not playing to find a gap in the rules!
Golden Point: The value of golden point has been debated since the revolutionary extra time period was introduced to the NRL in 2003, there are those that hate it and others who love it. There is the weird phenomenon that occurs during extra time periods where teams lose all structure relating to try scoring desire and solely concentrate on slotting field goals to end the match. Would the losing side – of the lottery that is golden point -not be deserving of walking away with something to show for their efforts? Could the two teams take 1 point each (as per the draw rule of years gone by) at the end of the 80 minutes leaving the extra 10 minute period open to fight for one team to take away and extra competition point? After all it is called golden point, not golden points…
St George Illawarra Dragons 16 (Tyson Frizell, Tim Lafai, Euan Aitken tries; Gareth Widdop 2 goals) defeated Canberra Raiders 12 (Jordan Rapana, Jarrod Croker tries; Jarrod Croker 2 goals) in golden point extra time at UOW Jubilee Oval. Crowd: 9,647. Half-time: Dragons 6-0