Expansionist Blog: West Wales Raiders need support but their passion for rugby league in Wales should be admired

Drew Darbyshire

West Wales Raiders have been in a black hole in the last couple of weeks, but they show a lot of passion to grow rugby league in the country.

The Raiders currently sit rock bottom of the League 1 table, having lost all six of their games so far this season.

And the last two weeks have been particularly bad for the Llanelli-based club, having lost 144-0 at York City Knights two weeks ago and 124-0 to Bradford Bulls last time out.

Jon Ellis left his role as head coach following their defeat at York and Phil Carleton took the reins at the Raiders.

They have taken a hell of a lot of stick on social media.

However, they are a very new club and are still finding their feet. They are in comfortable position off the field, so they should be given credit for that because several ‘heartlands’ clubs are struggling at the minute.

And another thing, they are working as much as they can in the community of Llanelli and trying to get the younger generations playing rugby league.

Raiders CEO, Peter Tiffin, published a very passionate and commendable statement after their defeat at Odsal.

He said: “Having played 4 out of the top 5 teams in the league and all of them being away, we have had probably the hardest start to any season but that’s sport and you have to take the highs with the lows.

“I have no doubt Phil will get the boys back in training this week and hopefully he will start working on stabilising the team.

“Without keeping on, we know things aren’t going to change overnight and we have to have faith in the infrastructure that we are building. People will say these scorelines are no good for the game, but I personally have to disagree. Having teams compete outside of the heartlands is essential to the survival and growth of the sport, teams like us give Welsh children access to the sport, and clubs in the higher leagues access to the talent Wales has to offer. I have no doubt we will turn the corner and hopefully we will kick on from there.

“On a personal note, not from myself but from the team, it was very humbling to hear the support of the Bradford fans at the stadium and in the bars around the ground as we left seeing them clap the boys on the bus.”

West Wales are gaining a lot of praise from fellow League 1 clubs at the minute and it’s good to see.

It is out of our hands whether they still in the third-tier or not, but it is safe to say that West Wales are doing great things off the field at the minute and the results will come in time.

The fact that there is no Oxford and Gloucestershire All Golds this year affects West Wales massively because that takes away extra competition for points for the Raiders.

We should be getting behind the Raiders and showing full support to the club, not writing them off.