Raiders back on track after win over Cairns Brothers

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Howard Salkow

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FOOTLOOSE: Portuguese international Manuel Perreira eludes a tackle during Saturday's win over Brothers. All Images: Joanne Cowe.
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The Port Douglas Reef Raiders rugby union team recorded their third win of the season and maintained their third position on the FNQ Rugby log table after a hard-fought 17-12 win over Cairns Brothers at the sporting complex on Saturday.

The Raiders received a significant boost on the eve of the match when three of their international players – two Chileans and an Englishman – received their clearances to play.

And the addition of talented centre Manuel Perreira, a 17-Test veteran for Portugal and a member of his country’s Sevens squad, strengthened the Raiders who were up against a relentless Brothers XV who relied on their heavier pack to overpower the Raiders.

But the Raiders held their own in every facet and their solid defence once again proved to be a key factor which must have impressed the large crowd.

It was an encouraging game and a 15-man effort where eighthman and 41-year-old veteran Adrian Bannerman, lock Connor McHugh and prop Clint Kachel were constantly on the move. Scrumhalf Juan Dillon, one of the overseas players in the team, was his ebullient self at the base of the scrum.

The teams were locked on 12-12 at halftime. Brothers scored a converted try after 18 minutes. Raiders struck back in the 27th when wing Derek Lechler crossed over and Ethan Hoffman’s conversion made it 7-7.

Brothers went ahead in the 36th minute with an unconverted try (12-7) and on halftime, McHugh scored from a tap penalty on Brothers’ line. Hoffman missed the conversion (12-12).

In the 22nd minute of the final half, Hoffman failed with a crucial penalty, but after more than 10 phases of pick and drive, the Raiders’ wing Chase Hay went over in the 27th minute for what would be the winning try of the match (17-12).

Brothers threw everything at the Raiders, but they were let down by poor handling, an erratic service from their scrumhalf whose passes often went astray and a Raiders defence that hung on as Brothers employed their big forwards to try and break through.

If anything that emerged from the game, the Raiders backs need to move up a lot quicker on the opposition three quarter line giving them less time to consider their options.

The Raiders are away for the next two weeks, playing JCU this Saturday and Barron Trinity Bulls the following week.


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