ROUND 1 DISAPPOINTMENT FOR THE RAIDERS
Damian Hannam - Secretary
The day started on a very bright note for the Raiders, as news came through that the Under 19s had prevailed over the Unicorns. Sure you're not supposed to read or write texts whilst driving, but Punt Road is a car park, so I'll let myself off on a technicality. Speaking of car parks, near the Melbourne High School ground they are rarer than Jamie Oliver quoting Shakespeare so i wasn't hopeful of finding anything in a hurry. As miracles would happen, a South Yarra native, complete with a double-decaf, diet coconut milk, single-origin latte jumped into their car about 50 metres from the ground. This looked like it was going to be a good day.
When i arrived at the game, the scoreboard told me otherwise however. The third quarter of the twos had just kicked off, and we were 50 points in arrears against the 2016 D2 Reserves Premiers. It was a tough ask to begin with, but the Unicorns were on song, and running rings around our boys for remainder of the game. The ball was coming into their forwardline with
Marcus Nolan breaks out with a handball as Luke McCann looks on
ease, and the likes of Trent Dimasi, Chris Shepherd and new Raider Elias Abdullah were constantly under the pump. They looked fitter and more assured with the footy and unfortunately that resulted in what ended up being a 111-point loss. For the good guys, better players were another new player, Ricky Bramham, along with Alex Copeland, Andrew Gafa and Sean Money who will be better for the run after a long cricket campaign.
The early part of the Senior match was a tight tussle, with neither side being able to get the upper hand. We were kicking against a breeze worth a couple of goals, and if not for a few missed chances in front of goal, we would have gone in a couple of goals up. The wind certainly wasn't doing us any favours in the second quarter as Melbourne High started to put the foot down. They rewarded all leads, long or short, and their superior fitness started to tell. We certainly had our moments, however theirs were more fruitful. A 4 goal to 0 second term in their favour saw us down by 5 goals at the main break. Special mention to Dave Huntley and Anthony Sheehy who were standing up tall in defense, and Michael Bellizia was putting on an aerial show for the crowd.
After the main break we started to find the big sticks, but unfortunately so did they. The game was more open now, and they were using their run-and-carry gameplan to great effect. If it wasn't for the fact it was against us, I'd almost concede it looked pretty good. Despite limited preparations, Marcus Nolan and Sean Miller started to work their way into the game, but we were starting to lose soldiers now too, and were down to just a couple of rotations. If that wasn't enough, just on 3/4 time the cold front came through like Gary Ayres at Princes Park against the Cats and it starting belting down. The wind had turned a little by this stage, and as the last quarter went on, we lost more players. MH put another 4 on the board and our day was done. We fought it out until the end as you would expect, but it just wasn't our day.
We get a week off to recover and work on some things before our round 2 clash against Emmaus St Leos. It's our first game at home and in front of the Past Players, we'll be keen to atone for that defeat.