The Canberra Raiders defeated the Penrith Panthers in a rare away win (the first since Round 9, 2007) on Saturday evening. Despite the loss of Zillman (ACL – out for season) and Logan (fractured cheekbone) and blowing an early 12-2 lead, the Raiders scored the only points of the second half and managed to hold on for a 20-16 victory.
I was at CUA Stadium for the match and I have to say that the Panthers home crowd really get behind their side. That made it all the more pleasurable to be wearing green when the final siren blew.
It wasn’t the most impressive game for the Raiders, particularly in the latter stages of the first half. The kicking game wasn’t good enough (certainly not when compared with Sammut’s efforts for Penrith), nor was the defence. That said, the Raiders defence once the final try was scored was impressive – successfully frustrating the scoring efforts of a spirited Panthers side.
Although they came away with a win, the Raiders need to improve if they want to seriously challenge for the title in ’08. A 4 point win over the out-of-sorts Panthers is not necessarily a huge line entry on the CV, but will hopefully be enough to boost the confidence of the Raiders squad. It is worth noting that many bookmakers still have the Raiders as the favourite for the wooden spoon.
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The loss of Zillman for the season is a big blow for the Raiders, though fans can take some solace from the fact that the ever-reliable Bronx Goodwin will more than likely be filling his shoes for the remainder of the season.Next Saturday will see the Raiders take on the St. George Dragons in their first home game for 2008. Kickoff at Canberra Stadium is 7:30pm – let’s get a big crowd their to cheer them to victory.