"YOU love football more than you love me".
ON a pleasant July afternoon in Newcastle, I had the opportunity to attend the Newcastle versus Penrith match at Marathon Stadium and view the game from a box seat. Although my much beloved Broncos weren?t on show, I couldn?t pass up the option of seeing the game from a more cosy location than the old hill.
WHILE "A game of two halves" is a much over used sporting clich? as the final leg of the Frank Hyde Shield played out at Henson Park on Saturday the clich? seemed made for this match with the Bears playing top quality and dominating football in the first (18-0 in front at the break), but handing control over to the Jets in the second, the full time score 32-28 to Newtown.
RAPER-RAPER !! Ron?s sick of hearing the name.
Sons of famous fathers... brothers of famous big brothers... all share a strange dilemma which allows them to enjoy reflected glory, but makes at almost impossible to attain that same glory on their own.
And while people like Ron Raper are immensely proud of their name particularly the name Johnny Raper ?He?s a great footballer and a great bloke? there are times when they wonder...
?Sometimes I wish my name was Smith or Jones... anything but Raper.I get disturbed about my name.It was Ron Raper speaking this week from his home office for Pacific Land Company in Redcliffe. What would disturb a man of Raper?s experience?. Living up to the Raper name,mostly, and maybe not getting credit for your own ability on the football field. Spectators and selectors tend to keep comparing Raper with the former wizard test lock who has been the greatest Rugby League player in modern time and you can throw Reg Gasnier in that list.
So much so Raper?s football ability is not judged by normal standards, but by the standards of a super footballer. When you know this,you can understand how a bloke like Ron Raper can be disturbed by his name. But let us rush on to say that the times Raper wonders if he would not rather be a Smith or Jones are but a drop in the ocean compared to the times when he wouldn?t change his name for a million.
Naturally Johnny Raper?s fame has been the overshadowing feature in the football lives of his eight young brothers, of which Ron is the fifth. When Johnny was in Sydney Ron took every chance he could to see his big brother play... that is when he was not involved in a match himself.?I used to watch him play, particularly when I was younger and I used to try and copy him,? Ron said.?But there some things I couldn?t do.? No doubt his other brothers did the same and came to the same conclusions.
All have found,no doubt,too that is hard to be judged on your own ability if your name is Raper. Perhaps,for one of the rare times in his life Ron Raper is finally being given full credit for his football ability since he joined Redcliffe this year. He has found himself in the position of team organiser on-field and forward adviser to coach Barry Muir.And his ability to organise and lead the team on field is paying off for Redcliffe.
Tactically,Raper is one of the top on-field brains in the game in Brisbane. His raking line kicks under pressure often turn the tables on the opposition. His general play does not have the brilliance of a Johnny Raper, but in this league he is head and shoulders over most opposition.... there we go down a well worn path, comparing a Raper with THE Johnny Raper. Ron has, however the best answer to anyone who compares him with his brother with such quotes as ?You?re not as good as your brother,Raper.? Ron Raper?s simple reply is ?Yes,but who is??
At 26 years of age Raper has come to Queensland to realise a life-long ambition to play in the interstate series.So this year Raper packed his bags and moved to Redcliffe to the mutual benefit of Redcliffe,Brisbane and Ron Raper. Raper is just as happy as his new club with the partnership.
?Sydney players don?t know what they are missing, back in Sydney I used to live in Canterbury Road with it?s never-ending noise. Here at Redcliffe I?m five minutes from the water and the only noise here comes from the birds.? I?ve signed on for four years with Redcliffe and I?ll be playing out that contract if my body holds out. If it doesn?t then I?ll taking on a coaching job around here somewhere.? But I?m staying right here in Redcliffe from now on.?
Now what better sales pitch could anyone want, to recommend a place to settle down? So any of you nervous Sydney players,if you?re looking for a little peace and quiet after the rattle and battle of a big city, see Ron Raper, by the sea, at Redcliffe.
THIS weekend will see the Final of the Totalrl.com Rugby League Conference South division between Minor Premiers the South London Storm and the winners of last weekend's Semi Final Eliminator the West London Sharks.
The winner will take not only the title of regional Champion but also a semi final place in the national knock out competition against the winners of the Welsh regional grand final.
West London beat Ipswich Rhinos on the weekend 52-18 a result that was put into context as Ipswich finished with 11 fit players, a similar feat achieved by South London in the final match of the season (South London losing their first match this year 4 weeks ago against West London with 11 fit players).
This will be the 5th time this season that the two sides have met. South London hold the upper hand at the moment with 3 wins to West's 1 but this is not to say that they dominate the matches by any means.
The first match was the first round of the Challenge cup back in February when South London triumphed by 4 points. In the regular league season honours have been even with one win each and an aggregate difference of only plus 2 points to South London overall. The honours were very much even in displays as well with Wests thoroughly dominating the return trip after South London dominated the first match.
The last time the teams played was in the first semi final in which the winner took their automatic place in the Grand Final where South London with a full strength side beat a West London this time suffering injuries by 70-6.
South London this week look to be sending out a close to full strength side again. At the timing of publication the only notable players missing were Mick Smith and John Ferguson who have headed back home to Australia after injuries finished their season early. Other Injuries picked up in the last few matches of the season to Samron Kahia, Mick Walker, Dave Wilson and Louis Neethling should now have recovered after having a week off.
Part of South London Storms success has been due to the part that it is one squad and the whole club works together. The entire squad was given a week off this weekend as both teams have big matches this weekend. As such the whole squad has had a rest and injuries are recovering to fringe first team players and second team players. As such training will be much tougher for the players in the run up to not only the First team regional Grand Final but also the Second team National Quarter Final.
South London 'A' the TotalRL.com RLC London Shield Champions will now play away to St Ives Roosters who beat Bedford Tigers last weekend in the Eastern Shield Championships. This is the first time the two teams have ever met and as such they are an unknown quantity. One thing that is known is that they will be no easy team to beat as anyone getting this far will be a good side.
The second team will benefit from the fact that injuries are recovering throughout the entire squad and training this week will show the unity between the two teams. This is the best season that the Thornton Heath based club have ever had across the board and this weekend will almost certainly be one of the best and most testing of all.
South London host West London at their Frant Road ground on Saturday kicking off at 2.30pm. The Amateur Champions of the South of England will be crowned and a match to fit the title is a certainty. If you are a fan of London sport this is definitely one not to miss.
BULLS charge to emphatic victory
LEIGH relegated after Rhinos loss
WIGAN too good for Salford
GREAT Britain must try to win the Gillette Tri-Nations Series without new captain Paul Sculthorpe after he was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
BRONCOS clinch last-gasp win
WILDCATS run ended by Giants
NEWCASTLE has announced the retention of key duo George Carmont and Reegan Tanner for the next two NRL seasons.
FRIDAY, 12th August 2005
WARRIORS hooker Lance Hohaia has been ruled out for at least a month after suffering a knee injury in his side's loss to Parramatta last weekend, the New Zealand-based club said on Tuesday.
NORTH Queensland chief executive Denis Keeffe has announced his resignation from the NRL club. Keeffe will continue in the role until the end of the season before handing over the reigns.