Raiders win 5-0 in trial clash
DEFENDING premiers of the 2013 Mackay District Rugby Union in both A and reserve grade, the Proserpine/Whitsunday Raiders Rugby Union Club held their first home game trial match at the Whitsunday Sports Park last Saturday.
The Raiders welcomed the clash with Townsville's Teachers Wests Bulldogs Rugby Union who finished third in the competition last year.
Played typically in true rugby spirit the match was a close affair with the Whitsunday Raiders posting a 5-0 advantage after three quarters of the match was played.
The game was ended abruptly when Raiders captain Ron Croker sustained an elbow injury.
He was released from hospital later that day and is expected to make a full recovery.
Nonetheless the 60 minutes of rugby was evenly contested as the score suggests and was a perfect pre-season hit out to clear the cobwebs.
Carrying on from his rise to rugby stardom in 2013, Dom Kermac scored the Raiders' only try early in the first quarter, unconverted it remained the final score for the day as the game ebbed and flowed.
But the most encouraging aspect of the day was to see the enormous depth, loyalty and enthusiasm of all players to come at short notice for the match and so early in the year.
Trent Elson played a coaching role and said the boys were focused and competitive in organizing lineouts, scrums, rucks and mauls and defence.
Captain Ron Croker said it was a good turnout and hoped to build a strong foundation for the season with more new players joining the ranks.
The club is now awaiting the arrival of the new coach, former All Black and Tongan World Cup coach 2011 Isitolo Maka, who is due next week and will direct the boys throughout their 2014 season.
Training remains Wednesdays and Fridays 6pm on the top oval at Whitsunday Sports Park.
The Whitsunday Raiders will be defending their title in several weeks against Bowen in a trial match for the Magees Cup.
In three weeks time the A grade and under-19s Mackay Districts Stinger teams will go up against Rockhampton.
Many local Raiders players will be involved in this match and all players are encouraged to attend a representative training session this Sunday at the Whitsunday Sports Park.