Raiders players and fans have every right to feel gutted in the wake of the Grand Final loss.
Sitting in the crowd you could almost feel the air go out of the balloon as the referee made that crucial decision on the controversial ‘six again’ ruling.
Hours after the game, the conversations on the train and in restaurants were all about the six again ruling. It cast a pall over the game when the focus should have been on the performance of two teams who had just fought an epic grand final.
It was effectively the turning point with the Roosters responding with a James Tedesco try. It was hard to take and bewildering at the time.
To suggest conspiracy theories is nonsense. People make mistakes and that is part of life, it is part of the game. Vitriol isn’t going to change the result. As the saying goes, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.
Hopefully, the experience will make the players stronger. The players, in the main, were responsible for the direction of the game (give or take an interesting referee decision or two).
For most of the game, the players were brilliant, but the odd incorrect play the ball, a decision not to pass with a man unmarked on the line, can make all the difference. This goes for both teams as it was a torrid and very even grand final.
It’s on repeat pic.twitter.com/ZL8VuV7juJ
— Hannah (@hclaire29) October 6, 2019
In the crowd, though, there was enormous pride in the performance of the Raiders.
They went in as rank underdogs and went within one play of winning the premiership. It was one of the great grand finals.
There was plenty of emotion among the supporter group. And there was a sense of community as you walked the streets of Sydney with anybody dressed in green seen as a fellow traveler.
There was also a sense of pride in the announcement that Sia Soliola had won the Ken Stephen Medal for his community work with the homeless and disadvantaged in Canberra, and when Jack Wighton was named as the Churchill Medallist as the player of the Grand Final.
There is so much to like about what the team has done on and off the field this year. It would be disappointing if the season is remembered for a single refereeing decision, crucial though it was.