Five-try Hay leads Raiders chase to glorious victory
Right wing Chase Hay wrote himself into the record books when he scored five tries in the Reef Raiders’ 37-12 thumping of the Penrhyn Sharks in this FNQ Rugby Union match at the sports complex on Saturday.
And it could have been a seven-try haul had the referee not adjudged two final passes to be forward with the try line begging.
“My previous best is three tries in a game, which was in New Zealand. This is special,” said Hay, who joins a small list of players at any level to have crossed over five or more times in a rugby union match.
In Australia, many will recall Wallabies fullback Chris Latham scoring five tries in the 2003 World Cup against a hapless Namibia who they hammered 142-0 in Adelaide.
Hay crossed over twice in the first half – the first coming after only a minute’s play – and three times in the final period of play. Flank Jack Murday and eighthman Francisco Panessi also scored in this seven-try haul.
Flyhalf Ben Hockenhull, whose goal kicking was hampered by the gusty wind, added a single conversion. The Sharks scored two tries, one of which was converted.
The Raiders were clearly superior in all facets of the game and after leading 22-5 at the break, it was a question of how many more points they would add in the final 40 minutes.
The sizeable crowd were not disappointed as the Raiders recorded their fifth win of the season and solidified their position within the Top 4 on the league table.
They need victories in the next two of their three games to ensure a play-off spot – a goal coach Travis Gooch set at the start of the season.
In producing a highly quality, disciplined performance, Murday, Panessi and lock Matt Mallard shone in the loose phases and tested the Sharks with their relentless drives up field. Murday had one of his best games of the season impressing with his anticipation, outstanding defence and superb linking with his backs and forwards.
Playing into the strong wind in the first half, the Sharks made the cardinal error of over-kicking and on most occasions had to recover as the ball rebounded which put them under additional pressure.
They tried to use their burly forwards, but this had little effect and when they spun the ball to their three-quarter line, they were too static to make any ground.
Another key player in the Raiders’ win was flyhalf Hockenhull who generalled the game extremely well and considered his options tactically. The quicker Raiders backs were never short of opportunities, thanks to Hockenhull. Sadly, he is no longer available for the Raiders.
Hockenhull received excellent service from livewire scrumhalf Juan Dillon, who was a constant danger with his darting runs.
The Raiders are again at home on Saturday to the Southside Crusaders at 4pm at the sports complex. They lost 27-5 in the first round and Gooch knows his team has their work cut out in the return fixture.
“We are taking one game at a time and although we’ll absorb the excellent win against the Sharks, we know we will be severely tested this Saturday,” he said.
The Raiders are away to Brothers on 6 July and the following week, are at home to JCU, before the start of the play-offs.
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