Brawl an ugly end as Raiders lose out to JCU in Cairns

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Howard Salkow

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Raiders' Tim Bray is caught in possession with Juan Dillon coming up in support in the match against JCU on Saturday. All images: Joanne Cowe.
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The Port Douglas Reef Raiders rugby union team were their own worst enemy against JCU in Cairns on Saturday when they conceded more than 35 penalties and allowed their hosts to cruise to a 36-7 victory.

The match was marred by an ugly brawl in the closing minutes resulting in players from both sides being red-carded.

Raiders’ fullback Ethan Hoffman, a pivotal player in the team, and wing Shana Aue, received red cards and could both miss this weekend’s away game against Barron Trinity Bulls, and possibly a second match, depending on the severity of any suspension to be handed down by the FNQ Rugby Union.

Although the Raiders held JCU to a slim 10-7 half-time lead, JCU capitalised on the Raiders’ poor discipline in the final 40 minutes of the match. Their points came from a converted try and penalty in the first half and then three converted tries and a try in the second half.

Raiders’ only points came after Portuguese Test centre Manuel Perreira found a gap and set up co-centre Esteban Correa to score. Hoffman added the extra points.

Raiders coach Travis Gooch said he has a lot to work on to eliminate the conceding of so many penalties.

“We were guilty of high tackles, off side at the rucks, players off their feet at the rucks. By giving the ball away to the opposition, we were unable to apply any pressure and put phases together. It all fell apart in the second half and JCU ran away with it,” he said.

Gooch said JCU proved to be their toughest opposition to date in the competition. “They threw everything at us and despite our ill-discipline, they showed their superiority.”

The Raiders are fourth on the table and play Barron in the first game of the second round this weekend.

“At the beginning of the season, I said I wanted to be in the Top 4 and make the play-offs and this is still my goal,” said Gooch.

Raiders’ results thus far in the competition:
v Barron Trinity Bulls – lost 19-22
v Mudcrabs – won 31-0
v Penrhyn – won 32-7
v Southside – lost 5-27
v Brothers – won 17-12
v JCU – lost 7-36


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