10 May 2023

Raiders run over Bulldogs to win grand final

| Samuel Davis
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DISCIPLINE and the occasional burst of individual brilliance has proven just enough to get Weipa Raiders over the line in a thrilling grand final at Andoom Oval on Saturday afternoon.

Napranum Bulldogs entered the decider undefeated and favourites to claim the Western Cape Rugby League premiership cup.

Leading 10-4 in the second half, the Dogs looked in control before a daring Alfred Bond chip-and-chase down the left sideline led to a try.

And when veteran prop Andrew Samson fell over the line soon after the Raiders never looked back, holding on to secure a famous 14-10 win for the club.

For his poised performance, Raiders skipper Lumbee Pablo was named man of the match.

“It’s a great story,” president and coach William Dix said.

“Lumbee’s played for the Raiders since he was a kid.

“He was a calming influence for us. We lost our two key second rowers for the grand final, so a lot of individuals stepped up.”

The win was all the sweeter given the Raiders had lost to the Dogs earlier in the season.

“The intensity and physicality carried throughout the game. But the young fellas took on the challenge from Bulldogs,” Dix said.

“There were big momentum shifts. Our combinations were working well but at times our execution could’ve been better.

“Same could be said for Dogs. It very easily could have been a different result. That’s footy, I guess.”

The win was a credit to the entire club, Dix said, who started the season with just a few players locked in and a depleted volunteer base.

“Because the last two seasons have been affected by COVID we almost had to start again,” he said.

“We basically had four weeks to get a team together before the season started.

“There were a lot of wingers and centres and not too many forwards and we just had to scratch our way through each game.

“A lot of players aren’t always available either because most of our squad are shift workers.

“We had four lads come out of retirement to help rebuild the club. It was a big effort from the committee and sponsors too. They really made the club a special place to be.”

Celebrations kicked on late.

“We had some drinks at one of the boys’ places. It was a good family gathering,” Dix said.

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