Urunga Raiders V Coffs Lions Rnd 7

Josh MacGovern about to release
Asama Radford skipping clear

It’s a game that never disappoints, the Raiders V Coffs Lions, this time at Maclean Street on a slippery pitch courtesy of the rain that had dogged the Reserve Grade fixture (won by Coffs 4-0). A game that’s not for sheep stations ok, but it felt like it from the get go, Dave Thorn in his favoured periwinkle blue tunic had the sides playing at the stroke of three. The sides probing and testing each other in the early stages, fast ball movement and adjustment of defences from both sides made it obvious that any goal would be at a premium. The first possibility fell to Tim Rupprecht after 19 minutes, the ball had deceived Tom Hauville a Coffs Defender skidding off the pitch, his touch heavy and Rupprecht gathering the crumbs faster than a politician at a buffet. Rupprecth pushed the ball forward 1v1 now with Josh Wiseman the Lions keeper shooting from close range but the shot deflecting off Wiseman’s leg for a corner.
It set the stage for a period of Raider pressure that really lasted for the remainder of the first half and I can say it didn’t sit well with the Lions. Bereft of ball they struggled to contain an urgent Raiders outfit and when they did get the ball turned it over fairly quickly. The Lion’s Lorenzo Rigoni carded on 43 minutes after a series of tackles of dubious intent and from a Jacob Leslie free kick the Urunga side were on the board. The ensuing Leslie free kick fairly distant but the accuracy sublime and Lockie Indian-Manning’s awareness and far post finish clinical, look he doesn’t score many goals but this one sent him on a lap of Maclean street and surrounding districts. The Raiders 1 up at the break.
The second half just as tense as the first, perhaps the Lions with a more even share of possession than the first Nick Lambert making Coffs intentions clear early after he pounced on a ball and fired just wide, and that after just 4 minutes. Enter Dut Garang after 11 minutes and the energy he provides putting pressure on defenders or simply running at the right angles and the Raiders found his presence unsettling. From an innocuous left side incident close to half way perhaps the ball contested a little too fiercely by the Raiders defence, Referee Thorn awards the Lions a free kick. It was a déjà vu moment for me as Aaron Allsop stepped up and hit a cross/shot that floated out of the sun (such is the orientation of Maclean Street oval) and into the Raiders net for 1-1. Anyone’s game now, the Lions buoyant after the Allsop goal and the Raiders feeling the Maclean Street heat but neither side able to land that match winning goal. Nick Lambert came close though in the dying minutes, Tanjil Everret had slipped on the greasy surface and with legs akimbo jatz crackers resting on that cool Maclean street turf all Everret could do was watch as Lambert advanced on goal. Usually a marksman of some repute but not this time as Lee Kennedy narrowed his angle and Lambert fired wide. I think on balance a just result at 1-1, either side might have won it but that’s what makes the Coffs V Lions matches so good and I can’t wait for the return at the Cabbage Patch!
In other results The Raiders Ressies got pumped 4-0 by the Lions and they will need to aim a little higher as the season progresses, the women though delivering an eye watering 7-1 flogging to Coffs ladies while the Raiders women’s Ressies also went down 4-0.
Go you Raiders!!