A 32-24 victory for Dubbo Macquarie against Wellington has lifted them into outright fifth position in the Group 11 competition and within striking distance of the leading teams.
The match at Wellington’s Kennard Park was an important one for the Raiders, because heading in both teams were sharing fifth place, with four points each.
It was the Dubbo team that boosted their finals hopes and closed the gap to just two points of the three teams in second, Forbes, Parkes and Nyngan.
Raiders captain Zac Rennick said it was great to get the win, but said there was still room for improvement after his side blew a 14-0 lead after 20 minutes, going to half time leading 14-12.
“We flew out of the blocks, which was great, but then we let them back into the game. It’s something we have been doing all season. We start well but then we drop off.
“We only seem to be able to play well in patches. and that’s something we need to improve during the second half of the season.
Rennick credited front rowers Kepu Nathan and Jade Hooper with laying the platform for the victory.
The pair were among the best for the Raiders, along with improving under 18s graduate Luke Gale.
“It’s a massive help when your forwards are having such an impact on the game and that’s what Kepu and Jade did. I thought Luke had his best game in seniors. He started in the centres but moved into the second row as the game went on and was great,” Rennick said.
Macquarie finish the first round with a game against the struggling Narromine Jets before a tough start to the second round with games against each of the top four.
Rennick said it would be a good challenge but also important for his side to match it with the frontrunners if they wanted to make the semi-finals and have an impact.
“It doesn’t matter if you are playing the team in first or last, you want to get a win, but there is more importance when you are playing the teams ahead of you,” he said.
Wellington also held a successful fundraiser night for injured CYMS player Ryan Medley and young cancer victim Grace Sharp after the game.