THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
RAIDERS REAP WHAT THEY SOW
It was well known at the beginning of the season that the Raiders were going to have to really stand up to be counted whilst their star five/eighth Terry Campese was on the sideline with a knee injury.
But no one really expected their on-field limitations would be so severe.
One of the major handicaps at the Raiders right now is ill discipline. Uncompleted sets as a result of disorganised attacking plays, and basic handling errors make the Raiders look like rank amateurs in some patches of their games.
Whilst probing into the poor performances from the Raiders, one senior internal source admitted that the poor discipline is just as bad off the football field. It seems a culture of bad behaviour has begun to flourish throughout the club, primarily amongst some of the junior Raiders recruits. The source made it clear that not every junior Raider’s player was to blame, stating with distinct pride at how maturely some of the under 18’s players conduct themselves in training, right through to pre game warm ups and following the coaches instructions when in a contest. Unfortunately, he said, the concurrent behaviour of other players can only be described as ‘party mode’. Already this season two juniors have been sent from the field for swearing at the referee, both in the game against the Dragons. Another was sent off in the same game. Others have been warned about threatening the referees from the sideline, and worse still, speaking to their own training staff with utter contempt.
Maybe the finger can be pointed at club staff. A NSWRL official had to publically reprimand a junior Raiders official for swearing at a referee earlier in the season.
It is well known some of these youngsters have or have had discipline issues at school level, and this has carried over to club level. History has shown at other clubs that the tolerance of similar cultures results in poor playing attitudes if these players ascend to the dizzying heights of first grade. One prominent first grade player is known to manifest an unprofessional attitude, however has not been reprimanded by the club, which is keen to keep him from being poached after he received an offer from the Bulldogs last year – and more than likely some other clubs.
The swiftest remedy to this disease of disrespect might be to simply let these players go – and some staff as well. But then of course the argument always begins as to why should a club let a talented, yet misbehaving player go when another club will pick them up and gain all the benefit? It appears the Raiders are simply trying to apply a soothing balm, which can only end in tears.
Hopefully the problem is rectified sooner rather than later, because for a club with a proud following, they are not giving their fans much to be proud about in 2011.