Raiders overcome the odds to win

The Canberra Raiders have beaten Manly 51-16 with only twelve men at Brookvale Oval this afternoon. In the 8th minute of play Raiders captain Simon Woolford was marched for a high shot on former Raider Luke Williamson. While the shot was bad from Woolford, there have been worse tackles this year in which players have managed to stay on the field. To put it bluntly, it was a knee jerk reaction from referee Paul Simpkins after the crowd started howling for Woolford's blood.

Manly fans got their pound of flesh but the Raiders had the last laugh with a rousing display against the odds to set themselves up for a top four finish. Canberra also lost Tyran Smith with rib cartlidge damage, Mark McLinden to a lacerated finger while others such as Ian Hindmarsh and Clinton Schifcofske played through the pain barrier with concussion and ankles injuries respectively.

Manly never capitalized on their good fortune while the Raiders forwards dominated Manly at the advantage line with Luke Davico, Ryan O'Hara and Ruben Wiki having mighty games in both attack and defence while superstar in the making Joel Monaghan scored four tries to take his tally to 16 for the year.

The victory would have delighted Raiders coach Matt Elliott after their heartbreaking loss to the Roosters last weekend. The Raiders can now concentrate on their match against the Cowboys next weekend and hopefully the injury/suspension list will be minor. Today, the Raiders were without Michael Hodgson, Michael Weyman, Simon Woolford, Mark McLinden, Terry Martin and Ben Cross.

There were stages in the match where the Raiders only had one fresh player on the bench but they backed themselves and their ability with some fine individual tries. It's not like Manly were in bad form either, they had beaten the Broncos two weeks earlier and only just lost to the Knights last weekend so Manly fans would have been optimistic about their chances once Woolford was dismissed.

After the Cowboys match the Raiders take on the Knights, Bulldogs and Roosters and with the Bulldogs and Roosters in ominous form, the Raiders have a chance to dispel any myths they are not premiership contenders, if they have not already done so with today's magnificent performance against the odds.

EAGLES 16 Tries: Menzies 2, Creary Goals: Walker 2/3 RAIDERS 51 Tries: Monaghan 4, Bulgarelli 2, Lolesi, Mogg, Schifcofscke Goals: Schifcofscke 7/11, F Goal: Drew 1/1

Sunday 10th August 2003 3:00 PM Brookvale Oval Referee: P Simpkins Video Referee: P Cooley player of the year points:

3 - J Monaghan (Raiders) 2 - R O'Hara (Raiders) 1 - B Drew (Raiders)