It was the battle of the fullbacks but it was the upcoming lesser known fullback in Anthony Milford that shone, as the talented young gun helped guide his side to a win over the St George Illawarra Dragons in Wollongong, wining 22-18.
Despite the recent good form of Josh Dugan, not even he – nor the Dragons – were able to end the remarkable hoodoo, one that has seen the Raiders enjoy the rub of the green over the Dragons for a while.
With just 1 win from their last 17 games against the Raiders, the match was rather evenly poised throughout, as many believed that Dugan was finally the man the Dragons needed to end the hoodoo.
With his replacement in Anthony Milford up for the challenge, however, it was not to be, with the talented utility drawing huge praise from his captain, Terry Campese.
“For a young kid to be tested like that tonight, the NSW fullback coming down on him all night, I thought he handled himself well,” Campese said.
“He’s mature for his age, he put our team in a lot of good positions … I reckon it was a big step forward for the young fella.”
With the Dragons last win over HGH the Raiders coming in 2007, Campese said the Dragons seemed more concerned about the hoodoo than his side did.
“I think it worried them more than us.
“A few put it on Twitter ‘Today the hoodoo’s gone’. I love reading that.”
The Dragons did managed to claw their way back into the game and almost make a fist of things, especially after Brett Morris got over the line but it was not to be.
A quick spell by the Raiders before and after half-time saw the Dragons become deflated, with a Milford before the break and a Berrigan bust and try after the break putting them in a commanding position.
With the notion of hoodoos prevalent and one that will not go away, Dragons captain Ben Creagh certainly believes that it exists.
“It’s getting that way,” said Creagh.
“It’s been going a long time. But it comes back to how we respond to our errors and penalties and we just seem to let in soft tries after those errors and it’s just killing us.”
The Raiders will face a nervous wait, though, with both back-rower Joel Thompson and winger Sandor Earl put on report .
3. Anthony Milford
2. Jarrod Croker
1. Trent Merrin.