There are a good number of hoodoos in rugby league and one of them has finally been broken after 14 long years, with the St George Illawarra Dragons defeating the Canberra Raiders in the nation’s capital.
Since 2000 and 11 trips to Canberra, the Dragons had never won a game there and were plagued by a lingering hoodoo but on the back of a hat-trick by Brett Morris and a double to Jason Nightingale, they broke the curse and had their fans jubilant.
The game began evenly as both sides went back and forth and at one point, it would have appeared that the Raiders would again win and continue the curse, especially when Jarrod Croker scored early in the second half.
It was then that the flair, class, acrobatics and positive attitude appeared for the Dragons, as they took control over the game to run away with victory in the end.
Morris, who was stand-in captain, scored one of the most freakish, acrobatic tries you will ever see and even joked about the way in which he learnt such a move.
â€œWe are circus performers,â€ he joked.
â€œA couple of years ago the PCYC got some mats with springs underneath them and we did all sorts of jumps and somersaults. Itâ€™s now starting to help on the field.â€
The Dragons back-line simply proved too skillful and classy for the Raiders and they had no answer for the array of mastery and skills, leaving big question marks over the Raiders defence on their own goal-line.
Going forward is no issue for the Raiders with their big boppers, though with defence clearly an issue, opposition teams like the Dragons can often score at will.
With Creagh out due to a slight hamstring strain, he expressed his disappointment in having to miss out on the hoodoo-breaking clash.
â€œI was very disappointed yesterday at training,â€ Creagh said.
â€œBut it was good to finally come down here and get a win.â€
To further complicate matters for the Raiders, the loss leaves them in danger of the wooden spoon. Should that happen, coach Ricky Stuart would be put in the unfortunate position of finishing last in two successive seasons with two different teams.
Stuart knows that Origin quality players are crucial and losing the likes of Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson a while back have not helped the Raiders cause. For Stuart, signing Origin quality is crucial.
â€œLosing two Origin players put us in this rut,â€ Stuart said.
â€œWe are in a position and they can jump into us and bag us for what it is.
â€œ(But) until I get Origin players in, itâ€™s not going to change and thatâ€™s my job. Iâ€™ve got to cut to the chase and be fair dinkum.
â€œUntil we grow our own, our fans are going to have to stick solid. Iâ€™m getting sick of it and fed-up with give you one-line answers.
â€œAs much as it will sound like Iâ€™m making excuses, Iâ€™m telling it exactly how it is.â€
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 34 (B Morris 3 J Nightingale 2 J Dugan P Mataâ€™utia tries G Widdop 3 goals) bt CANBERRA 16 (J Croker J Papalii J Rapana tries J Croker 2 goals) at GIO Stadium. Referee: Adam Devcich, Grant Atkins. Crowd: 10,318.