[2023] R5 Raiders v Panthers - Game Day Thread

Thanks for the feedback @steamboatfarmer. I usually wait a day or two to usually provide my thoughts on the game. It gives me time to watch the replay and time to put my thoughts together.

As for my comments about Ricky Stuart, I think in the past I have made my feeling clear about him. I don’t rate him as a coach and I find he likes to point the finger of blame to anybody else than himself, yet he seems to be the common thread in most the problems there. His comments about Salmon last year was out of line (and the NRL agreed with a suspension, which the Raiders went on to win the next week). To see him get his come uppance courtesy of Salmon crossing the line felt cathartic, of which I expressed here.

Alright on to the game…

I thought we looked a bit clunky out there. Playing like that against some of the teams hitting their straps right now, we would have been in trouble.

Considering that we haven’t really named the same side twice in a row so far this year though, I’m not incredibly concerned.

I thought a few players looked behind the pace.

Edwards looked uncomfortable at fullback and he messed up a few time where you would not expect him to, I’m sure Raiders fan would say it was down to the attacking pressure, but to me it felt that Edwards was getting in the way of himself. I wonder if we was just having one of those days you can have where everything you touch turns to crap, or if her carrying an injury.

Crichton wasn’t at his best, but in saying that, he hasn’t quite been himself since Round 1 if I am being honest about it. He is giving away a huge amount of penalties (2 last week and 3 this week). He still injects some brilliant moments, but penalties can cost us points, and his sin binning, after numerous warnings from the referee, lead to the Raiders first try of the night.

Zac Hosking has been amazing these past game, and will put real pressure on Luke Garner to hold his spot. He hits the line hard and bends the defensive line like a Prop Forward, but can also glide through the slimmest of gaps in the opposition. I would think of some sort to rotation with Scott Sorensen, either of them starting and the other on the bench.

I thought that Tyrone Peachy had a good game when he came on, took him a little bit to blow out the cobwebs, but when he did, his delivery out of dummy half was great and the little dart over the line must have been sweet for him.

My MOTM points went to Sunia Turuva, Isack Tago & Zac Hosking. They were my standouts this week.

The Raiders made it a point to load a lot of pressure on Edwards and take him out of the game, and when they seen he was having an “off game”, made sure he got traffic going his way. But the back row delivered with Tago, To’o and Turuva stepping up and hitting back hard. A double to Turuva, a double to Tago, and To’o with most run metres in the game.

I’m hoping that match knocked some of the rust the side has had and they go out of this one a lot more confident and press the competition with more of that surgical like pressure we are known for.

Onwards and upwards.


Totally agree with this @dufeyz

I do feel the World Cup did disrupt the preseason a fair bit with some players not returning to training till January.

We also have had some large voids in our sides attack made with the departures of Kikau and Koroisau. The loss of Taylan May for the season was also a bitter blow before the season kicked off.

This isn’t to say we are behind the ‘8-Ball’ though, far from it. New combinations are going to take time to build. Some fans have been critical of Luai, but to put it into perspective that whole side of the team had been rebuilt.

Working out the Garner/Hosking positioning and how to better use Sorensen and Salmon in the side will take some time this year. The Kenny/Luke combo needs to be tweaked to get the best rotation out of our Hookers. Making sure that Turuva keep on the path he is on and develop him to a player that will likely slip into Crichtons vacant centre spot next year.

Then you have NSW Cup crop and managing them for the Origin period. Lots of Flegg boys have been promoted and keeping the standard in the lower grades is key to succeeding in First Grade.

I feel in 2022 things mostly stayed the same to 2021 and there was little movement. In comparison, 2023 has had a lot of changes and we have experienced injuries much earlier than the past 2 years. This is the real litmus test. If we make it a “threepeat”, it would be hard to deny the current Panthers team as one of the best in Rugby League history.


I heard NC saying the team needed to evolve to continue winning. I would suggest we are doing what needs to be done, i.e. what worked for us in previous seasons, but i also expect we will produce some new styles within the year, probably after SOO when all the good teams are at a low point.

It stands to reason that if, as a unit, you are developing change, the current will be a bit clunky. The one thing that won’t change is the defensive effort and anyone unhappy with our early season effort is a very hard task master and probably a little bit now now now.

I for one am very pleased with our situation currently, a lot of footy to be played yet. Let’s not forget that injuries make or break comps, hopefully we all stay healthy !