NRL scoreless first half, Jordan Rapana try-saving tackle

Advertisement


The brave and brutal Raiders prevailed in the most ferocious and physical game of football seen in the NRL this year to upset the Eels 12-10 and fire up their finals chances.

The match finished with a try saving tackle in the final second by Jordan Rapana and Jarrod Croker on Maika Sivo. It was a fitting end to a fabulous match with Rapana’s hip bump bundling Sivo into touch right in the corner.

The Raiders, now in the top eight, defended like they had 17 Ruben Wikis on the field and each Eel embraced the spirit of Mr Perpetual Motion himself.

This was a 1980s style smash-up without the coathangers and send-offs. The only other thing missing was a cattledog.

The scoreless first half was the first since the opening round of 2019 — 860 days ago — when Newcastle and Cronulla did not trouble the scorers.

Ryan Sutton (sternum) and Marata Niukore (knee) were both first half casualties. The collisions kept coming. Josh Papalii pummelled Oregon Kaufusi in the ribs and all but knocked himself out in the process before leaving the field with an HIA, which he later failed. The final play of the half finished with Joe Tapine snapping Jakob Arthur in half. No quarter was asked and none was given.

Josh Hodgson sat Maika Sivo on his backside with a front-on wallop to continue the trend in the second stanza.

Hudson Young came up with a sensational play when he put the ball on the foot after a misdirected pass from Josh Hodgson near the tryline. After securing a repeat set, on fire Corey Harawira-Naera hit a hole off a Sam Williams pass and the first try was on the board in the 45th minute. Sensational Jordan Rapana took the Raiders to 12-0 before a reborn Blake Ferguson, who played the second half with a rib injury, set up Dylan Brown with a stunning kick. Sivo scored late but the Raiders hung on like champions.

Rampaging Rapana

This was the 10th different spine combination the Raiders had fielded this year and with rookie sensation Xavier Savage out for the season, veteran Rapana stood up at fullback and had a blinder. He scored a try and was in everything. His final match winning play will live forever in the memory. He had plenty of mates with Joe Tapine and Hodgson superb in as good a team performance as you will ever see.

Raiders tightrope

The gritty Raiders have surged into the top eight on 18 points and now have finals football in their sights. Their next two games against fellow finals hopefuls Newcastle and St George Illawarra will go a long way to deciding whether they reach the playoffs. In added hope for Raiders fans, the expected imminent return of Corey Horsburgh (wrist), Elliott Whitehead (shoulder), Jack Wighton (ribs) and Dunamis Lui (calf) looms as a huge boost.

Fergo fires

After almost two months cooling his heels out of the top side, the colourful Blake Ferguson returned with a bang against his old club. Coach Brad Arthur had told Ferguson to go way and work on improving how he fitted in with the Eels’ defensive systems. After recovering from a calf injury and a stint in the NSW Cup, the 31-year-old delivered with a cruncher on Jarrod Croker that saved a certain try. In attack, he put his hand up to do the tough carries and set up a cracking try for Brown with a barging run and inch perfect kick for the Eels five-eighth to score. The off-contract veteran is without a home for next year but this display showed he still has plenty to offer.



Source link

Advertisement
Author: Shirley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *