Raiders v Cowboys: Five key points
Michael Morgan starred for the Cowboys, while Canberra's season is on life-support following Saturday night's clash. Here are five key points.
Raiders errors costly
Canberra undoubtedly has the ability and the passion to score points, but their discipline in attack and defence beat them as much as Michael Morgan's stellar performance. The Raiders committed 12 errors and gave away five penalties, two of which were for mouthing off at the referee. The Cowboys proved that a top eight team will punish you for giving over possession so cheaply, and it's solid proof that the Raiders are not the top four outfit they were last year.
Cotric v Feldt aerial battle
It was a practical dogfight in the air over the skies of the nation's capital, as Cowboys flyer Kyle Feldt did battle with 18-year-old Nick Cotric. The Cowboys winger came up with several defuses, and came close on multiple occasions. Cotric proved he was a star of the future, flying equally as high as Feldt and scoring a try through the middle, utilising his speed and footwork. In a tough season, Cotric has been a revelation.
The halfback was the lead engineer in the dismantling of the Raiders' game and possibly their season. The halfback chalked up two try assists and two tries, but it was his kicking game at all ranges that will give Queensland coach Kevin Walters a real selection headache. Morgan forced several errors from his towering kicks, as well as four goal-line dropouts to mount the pressure on the Raiders. The performance has added weight to the claims that the Queensland utility should be the man to fill the injured Johnathan Thurston's position.
Te Maire Martin's perfect debut
The young Cowboy was by no means brilliant, but it’s a credit to his cool head that he was happy to let the more experienced Morgan run the show, while remaining consistent and on the ball at all times. His hunger for a starting spot in coach Paul Green's starting 17 was illustrated by his two tries off the back of his support play, as well as making numerous contributions in defence. Twice he was the man to make the tackle and guarantee the goal-line dropout, and the Raiders' found no joy when probing his new defensive combination with Kane Linnett and Gavin Cooper.
Raiders' slide continues
Their game against the Cowboys was an accurate reflection of their 2017 season. Poor discipline and errors in attack made it hard for them, and their woes were compounded by Morgan's pinpoint accurate kicking game. Ricky Stuart needs to find the problem, and do it fast, if he's to stop the slide from their top four finish last year. The loss is the Raiders' 10th this year, with just six wins and puts the finals even further out of reach.