12 April 2022

Season-defining month ahead for the Raiders and the Brumbies

| Tim Gavel
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Canberra stadium

The Raiders started the 2022 season well against the Sharks at Canberra Stadium. Photo: Canberra Raiders.

It’s pretty much a constant when the Raiders aren’t winning: What’s going wrong? How can it be rectified? Why aren’t key players firing?

The Raiders are 13th on the ladder with two wins from five rounds.

Against the Melbourne Storm, they were in the game in patches but they struggled for much of the 80 minutes.

They appeared to lack direction. Jack Wighton attempted to single-handedly lift the side but against the Storm one player isn’t going to win a game.

The forwards lacked penetration. It was the same old story – plenty of effort but lacking in patience and the ability to create sustained pressure.

It’s worth pointing out they are currently without two-thirds of the spine they expected to have at their disposal this season. Injuries to halfback Jamal Fogarty and hooker Josh Hodgson have severely impacted the team.

Rookie half Brad Schneider has played less than a handful of first grade games while Tom Starling proved far more effective off the bench.

It’s a learning experience for both players.

READ ALSO Canberra United’s Kelly Stirton brings a love of football to players of all abilities

The next month could be season-defining as they face three games in which they would go in with high expectations starting with North Queensland in Canberra.

Following the Cowboys, the Raiders take on the in-form Panthers, the Warriors and the Bulldogs.

The Panthers in Penrith looks to be a bridge too far but they should be able to beat the Cowboys, the Warriors and the Bulldogs.

If they don’t, it could be a long season.

The Brumbies are sitting on top of Super Rugby Pacific, not that many people would know it! Beyond Canberra, the coverage of games is sparse.

The Brumbies versus Waratahs game at Canberra Stadium. Photo: Jennifer Andrew.

The Brumbies versus Waratahs game at Canberra Stadium in season 2022. Photo: Jennifer Andrew.

But yes, the Brumbies have won seven games so far this season with one loss to the Queensland Reds. They sit on top of the ladder ahead of the Blues and the Crusaders. The Brumbies have played one more game than other sides in the top five.

Bar the loss to the Reds, the Brumbies have accounted for almost all other teams in Australia. The real test is about to hit them with five games against New Zealand teams starting with the Highlanders then the Hurricanes.

Last year the Brumbies won just one game against a New Zealand side and that was a 12-10 victory over the Hurricanes. They were unlucky not to have beaten the Crusaders, going down 31-29.

The next month and a half will be important for both the Brumbies and Australian rugby with so much of the psyche in Australian rugby dependent on how our teams perform against the Kiwis.

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Ricky Stuart is stuck in the ’80s as far as coaching goes. The Faders are boring to watch, run out of puff by the 2nd half of any match

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