Northern Raiders (3-0) V Monash Barbarians (0-2)
Last time they met: Raiders – Barbarians (GV does not have a result in their website… strange)
The Northern Raiders are off to a dream start, it sure beats drawing almost every game like last year. It was their running game that excelled this week with over 200yds rushing and only 107yds passing. RB #24 Ben Norton (“The Weapon” I’m calling him) scored another 3TD’s, 2 rushing and 1 receiving. He was supported by RB #23 Daniel Strangis who had 92 yds on the ground. Defensively the Raiders dominated with LB #7 Vic Utumapu all over the field with 8 tackles, forced fumble and a INT. First gamer DB #13 Will McGann was also dominant, swatting away virtually anything that came his way.
Monash Barbarians look impressive from the sideline but unfortunately that doesn’t transpire into their game plan. You do have to factor into it that 2/3 of their roster are Rookies. The first half the Barbarians took it up to the Wolves, limiting their running game and not allowing completed passes. They had the Wolves run under control, that was until they ran outside, keeping away from big DL #55 Sam Karag. A 0-0 half time score line quickly turned into a 21-0 defeat after a muffed Punt return for a Safety kicked off the scoring for Melton. RB #22 Johnny Chen had a good opening run and #5 RB Damien Tse showed signs but the passing of the Barbarians was non existent, although QB #29 Richie Truong tried hard to get the offense going it wasn’t to be. Maybe OL #70 Ben Taylor was blocking his view of the throwing lane? Defensively LB’s #44 Nathan Conquo and #50 Jordyn Melville were the best for the Barbs, helping stop the Wolves run in the first half.
I don’t see this game being pretty for the Barbarians unless they show massive improvement moving the ball. They have tall receivers that I’d like to see used more and the running game will flourish if this can happen. The Raiders smell blood and they will do their best to remain clear on top of the Division. The Barbarians may limit them on the ground but the Raiders might take advantage through the air.