Several players have put themselves in contention for a spot in the top 17 for Round 1 after impressive performances however ill-discipline proved costly for the Raiders with the Newcastle Knights running away victors 34-14 in front of over 2000 hearty supporters at Scully Park, Tamworth.
With numerous positions still up for grabs in Canberra’s first grade line-up, the trial against the Knights was the final opportunity to impress Ricky Stuart and his coaching staff before the Raiders season officially commences against the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday the 8th of March.
Paul Vaughan was immensely impressive after coming off the interchange bench. His explosive leg speed and toughness in defence will see him put plenty of pressure on the more experienced forwards at the club.
Local boy Matt Allwood, a Farrer Agricultural High graduate, was also notable at right centre and has put himself firmly in the mix for a spot in the Green Machine backline.
The terrific form of hookers Glen Buttriss and Josh McCrone will also cause Stuart some headaches, although headaches that he is fortunate to have.
The first half was a hard-fought encounter with the Raiders fielding their strongest line-up.
James McManus opened the scoring within the first five minutes at Scully Park with the NSW Blues winger diving over after a crafty tip-on by BJ Leilua. Tyrone Roberts converted to give the Knights a 6-0 lead.
The Raiders hit back shortly after when a towering Jack Wighton bomb was coughed up by Newcastle and the ball was swiftly passed by Joel Edwards into the waiting arms of Edrick Lee who crossed.
Both sides registered further tries to Akuila Uate and Jarrod Croker however it was the boot of Roberts that ensured the Knights went into the break two points clear.
Canberra fielded a vastly more inexperienced side in the second stanza and Newcastle ultimately proved too strong with the Knights scoring four tries to the Raiders one.
The Raiders sole try was scored by winger Sami Sauiluma after a brilliant cut-out pass by promising five-eighth Jack Ahearn.
The final conversion was not attempted after fans rushed the field to meet their favourite players.
David Shillington injured his ribs in the match and will have scans this week to determine the injury's severity.