Gavin fires the dream for Wood's Raiders
The Rugby Paper|May 23, 2021
If he so wished, Aaron Wood could put one hand on his heart, the other on the bible, and solemnly swear that he runs a record-breaking footy outfit.
PETER JACKSON

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The West Wales Raiders could do likewise and vow, without fear of perjury, that they have traded in some very big numbers, so big that the record in question will probably be theirs in perpetuity. Against the York City Knights three years ago, they lost 144-nil, an appropriate total for a grossly indecent defeat.

The 25 tries and 22 conversions added up to the widest losing margin ever recorded in professional Rugby League.

It ought to be pointed out without further ado that Wood had nothing to do with what happened two seasons before his arrival as head coach. As the 36-year-old Australian said, with a faint trace of irony: “That game doesn’t get mentioned around here that much. At the time, I didn’t even know they’d been beaten 144-nil.’’

Some of those who did thought he must have been crazy to relocate at League’s implausible western outpost in Llanelli. “A lot of people said that. I think even my wife wondered what I was doing but I was never in any doubt what I was doing.’’

Wood’s fair-dinkum Aussie attitude of onwards and upwards at least spared him the gory details as recorded by the Yorkshire Evening Press. The newspaper described the Raiders as ‘a ragbag and bobtail band of apparent misfits who were going to be absolutely walloped’.

They conceded tries in the first and last minutes and 23 in between. Nobody could accuse the visitors of not doing things by halves. Nor could anyone question their resolve to go the distance.

Wood, from Scotts Head on the Pacific Highway stretch of New South Wales, played for St George, Cronulla Sharks, and the Macksville Sea Eagles before joining Toulouse where he finished up running their academy and reserve teams. None of that could have prepared for what awaited him at West Wales Raiders.

He inherited a squad which during two seasons in the Rugby League’s third tier had won one match out of 46. They had lost the other 45, conceding an average of 70 points.

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