If you were not told that this game was the playoff for the NRL wooden spoon, you may have been mistaken by the quality of play.
By that I mean, you could have sworn this was the playoff for the spoon in the NSW Cup or maybe a Group Footy Grand Final.
The first half, especially as a Raiders fan, was tantamount to torture and Josh McCrone put in a stellar resume in to work at Guantanamo Bay. For those lucky enough not to witness this monstrosity, here are a few brief #ForeverMcCrone highlights: passing the ball into non-intended receivers chests and/or head 4 or 5 times, a kicking game that indicated he had his boots on the wrong feet and facial hair that saw Gillette shares sky-rocket. Oh, and an effort that led to the only try of the half going to the Sharks….from a Blake Ayshford line break. You couldn’t make up this shit. You cannot also not make up the fact Josh was hooked from the field by Ricky Stuart in the 38th minute…to return to the field at the 45th minute at hooker. What a punishment….a whole 7 minutes off the field for the most horrid 40 minutes seen by any player this year.
On the flipside, such was the quality of the Sharks team, that their fans apparently joyously sung them off at half-time, like leading the team one ahead of you on the ladder by six points was the greatest achievement on earth. Sure, the Sharks could be permitted a few excuses this year: Paul Gallen missing games to doping violations, Paul Gallen missing games to rep duty, Paul Gallen missing games to injury, their coach being a PE teacher…the list goes on. Mr Shepherd’s promise of McDonalds after the game was not enough to rally the troops to start the 2nd half on the right foot. Just as well, as it seems the club had best use the funds to put towards a stretcher. In a day that had seem some disgraceful performances, perhaps the worst thing to watch was Nu Brown hobbling from the field with the trainers providing more harm than good. Brown along with Michael Gordon were the Sharkies few highlights in a sea of shit. And the biggest, stinkiest floating flotsam in that ocean would have to be Matt Prior. It’s not Matt’s fault he looks like the banjo playing kid from Deliverance, but would it be too much to ask to get him to hold onto the ball on the first run of a set? If you have the finger dexterity to pluck the banjo strings, how the fuck can’t you hold onto the Steeden. Rugby League fans were stupider for watching his performance.
The Raiders did what was needed to close out the match in the 2nd half. McCrone at hooker meant he wasn’t at half which was a bonus. Mitch Cornish showed what rewards a half proficient kicking game can give you, and the commentators shot jizz at the mention of Anthony Milford’s name. The real highlights were in the pack for the Raiders with Paulo Vaughanini with strong carries and looking dangerous with the offload and Dane Tilse who has suddenly realised he is a giant and can put a bit of weight behind the shoulder in defense. Matt McIlwrick had his best game in green, with Matt Prior making his tackles look world class.
So thank god that is over. Lets hope for a better quality Raiders game next week when 12th plays 15th.