The prospect of further NRLW expansion is back on the cards after Canberra launched their bid to join the competition in 2023.
The Canberra Raiders conceded their fifth straight loss on Saturday as they choked a 16-point halftime lead to the Newcastle Knights.
Entering the match, both sides were desperate to get another win on the board as both teams were only strapped with three wins in the season so far.
The Raiders were under fire all of last week after many poor performances and the ‘resting’ of Josh Papalii the week before. Many people including me believed that it was actually Papalii just being being dropped from the side, similar to how he was dropped to the bench the previous week.
Coach Ricky Stuart has been putting the hammer down in recent weeks, such as when he dropped Papalii to the bench and two weeks ago when he sent running machine Joseph Tapine back to reserve grade for a week.
Papalii had a great game against Newcastle as he looked like the so called ‘old Papi’. He ran for over 130 metres and Tapine also had an above-average game as he had a try and nearly 100 running metres off the bench.
I would like to see Papalii get some more minutes as he only had 43 on the weekend. More game time for him would be a huge positive impact on the Raiders.
Overall, the solution to the Raiders getting back to winning games is to just keep it simple with a low number of errors and a solid defensive line, which will bring the results.
Meanwhile, Sunday was another depressing day in the office for Canterbury Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett as the Bulldogs fell to their eighth loss of the season after only winning once so far this year.
The loss was conceded by 20 points to the St George Illawarra Dragons. If you are a neutral fan, it was a boring game.
The Bulldogs have looked the same every year since 2016 and have sunk to the worst of the worst as they have just simply not been winning games.
It is really hard to work out the Canterbury team at the moment as you can see the courage and fight in the side but there are just a few assets missing, such as strong forwards to lead them around the park.
It is a waiting game at this point as they have key additions coming through to the side next season like Josh Addo-Carr, Brent Naden and Matt Burton.
Although this is great recruiting from the Bulldogs’ board, I would love to see them sign some strong forwards as they are stacked in the backs department right now and you cannot have backs play to their full ability if you do not have a good forward pack running the ball well.
Overall, I am afraid that the Bulldogs will have to try and just grind their way through the season and get well prepared for next year because next season will be one of the club’s biggest seasons in history as they will be trying to steer the ship back around to be the great club that it once was.