The Canberra Raiders have done it tough over the last decade but there are finally signs that things are starting to turn around.
They are probably the youngest team in the NRL but they sport a number of top class players that any team would love to have in their lineup.
I’ve been hyper critical of Todd Carney, and while I hope I don’t put the jinx on the men from the ACT, I have to say it seems from the outside that Carney has grown up a hell of alot over the last 18 months and than god for that.
Carney was quickly heading down the Craig Gower road to personal breakdown. At one stage it looked like he might end up in jail!
Now Carney is one of the most consistent players in the competition, guiding the Raiders around the park very well and showing a real command of the game, something I really like to see.
I think playing in Canberra and away from the hype is REALLY good for him. Its allowed him to develope at a natural rate, rather than have the media wanting to fast track him to superstardom after just a few games.
He isn’t alone either.
Terry Campese is one of those players that just gets the job done. he remind me a little of a young Braith Anasta in the way he just seems to be in the right place at the right time. He can put a team mate into space and is the type of player you always have to keep an eye on.
The Raiders outside backs are all big, athletic and fast. They can all go the length of the field and while most are finishers rather than players that can create their own opportunities, they have shown signs that they can break a game open when give the chance.
The Raiders forwards meanwhile just put their heads down and work all day. They probably lack a bit of mobility but you can’t fault their effort.
I think the Raiders are really only a couple of players away from being a very tough playoff side.
I personally think they need a really creative Hooker to give them some creativity and spark around the ruck area. Michael Ennis would have been a great buy but he has now gone to the Bulldogs, but I wonder if someone like a Luke Priddis, a former Raider himself, would be a good buy for the club and really set a good example on and off the field.
I also think the club needs to buy a top class prop forward.
At times the Raiders seem to lack a player that just gets the go forward happening. Don’t get me wrong, they do have some class forwards, but no one in that really top class that can worry an opposition.
Outside of that the raiders are not lacking a whole lot. They have good depth, they have shown they can blow an opposition off of the park when in form, they are young and they will be together for a long time to come.
They really are a team to watch, and after coming out the other side of the dark, boring, Matthew Elliott era, the Raiders are once again a team that are great to watch.
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