Raiders thump Storm in opening trial of 2013
Friday 8 February 2013 9:09 PM
The Canberra Raiders have had a tremendous start to their 2013 campaign, with a 40-8 win over premiers the Melbourne Storm at Simonds Stadium in Geelong.
The Green Machine scored eight tries in a polished performance, with their outside backs dominating the scoresheet as Dimitri Pelo and Sandor Earl both scored doubles.
The only downside to the night was a knee injury to Jarrod Croker, as he limped off midway through the first half.
Early reports from Raiders medical staff suggests Croker has suffered a medial ligament strain to his right knee, however scans will confirm any strain next week.
The Raiders opened the scoring through Pelo after a well-executed backline movement as Josh McCrone threw a lovely pass to set it up, before using his skill to put Sandor Earl away for a second try and an early 8-0 lead.
Pelo picked up his double shortly after and when Josh Dugan scored under the posts the Raiders were in control at 18-0.
Rock solid defence and some strong work down the middle of the park gave the Raiders more possession as Josh Papalli scored under the posts, with a late Matt Duffie try the only blemish on the Raiders scoresheet as they went into the sheds 28-4 up.
The Storm used the strong breeze behind their backs to start the second half with the bulk of possession and they opened the second half scoring through Storm rookie Richie Kenner.
But the Raiders controlled the ball and possession to run away with the game at the back end, finishing comprehensive winners at 40-8.
Raiders Coach David Furner said he was pleased with the first up effort of his troops, but said there was still work to do ahead of the season proper.
“We’re very happy with the complete performance tonight. We had back to back sets and good ball control which led to points and we were pleased with the things we’ve been doing in training coming together on the field,” Furner said. “Defensively we were pleased that we only conceded eight points. We don’t want to get carried away as it’s only a trial but we’re happy.”
Furner praised his team who were missing 11 regular NRL players and said it was promising to see the fruits of last year’s campaign coming to the fore, suggesting more rookies could feature if they continued their impressive efforts in training and in the trials.
“Last year we had a lot guys come into the side where at the start of the year we didn’t think they would and that has put us in good stead for this season,” he said. “Tonight we had two young halves in Mitch Cornish and Anthony Milford get their chance and they did well in their 25 minutes at the end.”
CANBERRA RAIDERS 40 (Pelo 2, Earl 2, Hodge, Lee, Papalii, Dugan tries. Croker 2, Dugan 2 goals) defeated MELBOURNE STORM 8 (Duffie, Kenner tries) at Simonds Stadium. Crowd 4,500.