Harold Matthews (Under 16s)
Parramatta Eels 26 defeated the Canberra Raiders 18 on Saturday at Raiders Belconnen
Canberra has suffered their first loss of the season after the Parramatta Eels surged to an eight point win over the Raiders in front of a strong home crowd which featured NRL Coach Ricky Stuart, CEO Don Furner, NRL Assistant Coach Dean Pay, Tom Learoyd-Larhs and passed great Simon Woolford.
The Raiders had previously been undefeated all year and sitting at second place on the ladder leading into this encounter. They were heavily favoured to beat the Eels however a dismal first half display proved the catalyst for their first defeat of the year.
Parramatta took Canberra by surprise in the first stanza, with the Eels compiling 22 unanswered points by the time the half-time siren sounded.
Raiders Coach Adam Kyle described the opening half onslaught as “the worst half of rugby league the side has played all year.”
Canberra came out a vastly more switched on outfit in the second half after Kyle emphasised the need for the side to lift their intensity and enthusiasim to enable them to regain their stellar form of the previous four rounds.
The Raiders opened the scoring in the second half through a brilliant piece of play by second-rower Matthew Lyons.
Lyons portrayed brilliant reaction skills by intercepting a threatening pass by the Eels and then showed surprising pace to race 75 metres to score. Five-eighth Jesse Smith-Shields converted.
Alas, quick hands from the Parramatta left hand edge enabled the Eels to hit back shortly afterwards through winger Offisea Seaufake.
To their credit, the young Raiders never gave up and played right until the further whistle.
Fullback Nic Cotric did it all himself off a scrum win for the Raiders with eight minutes remaining to make for an exciting finish. The try was Cotric’s 9th try in five matches. Smith-Shields conversion narrowed the deficit to 26-12.
Centre Sebastian Kris then made things even more interesting with a fantastic individual effort with four minutes left on the clock. Kris broke free and exuded tremendous pace to run 60 metres to score.
Whilst the two late tries to the Raiders gave the home side a glimmer of hope it was all too little, too late as Parramatta ran out deserving winners 26-18.
Despite the loss, Canberra retains their position at second place on the competition ladder.
Parramatta 26 (Robert Afu, Joshua Carr, Ofisea Seaufale, Alex Seve, Vinnie Tikeri tries; Adam Campbell 3 goals) def. Canberra 18 (Nic Cotric, Sebastian Kris, Mathew Lyons tries; Jese Smith-Shields 3 goals)
SG Ball (Under 18s)
Parramatta Eels 28 defeated the Canberra Raiders 26 on Saturday at Raiders Belconnen
The Canberra Raiders have fallen out of the top eight after the Parramatta Eels registered a narrow two point victory in the dying stages of the match.
There were plenty of positives to come out of the fixture against the fifth placed Eels however with a number of teams vying for a spot in the top eight, the loss hurt the Green Machine.
Canberra started the match the better of the two sides with outstanding five-eighth Lachlan Croker pivotal in all three of the Raiders’ opening tries.
Firstly, the side’s Captain scythed his way over from close range with a darting and weaving run to open the scoring within the first five minutes of the match. Croker converted his own try.
Croker then threw a beautifully timed ball to halfback-cum-fullback Jack Hickson to score untouched. Croker again converted.
After scoring a double last weekend, Kalani Going was then on the receiving end of another sublime ball by Croker, however the Canberra maestro was unable to convert the second-rower’s try.
The Eels finally registered points mid-way through the first half through winger Janes Gammidge. Dangerous attacking fullback Bevan French then set up two consecutive tries with pin-point cut-out passes to Parramatta centre Antini Gafa and antother to Gammidge, which took take the wind out of Canberra’s sails.
As the half-time siren sounded, Croker was able to slot a penalty goal to level scores at 18 points apiece.
Canberra hit the lead in the second half when winger Thomas Cronan was on the receiving end of some enterprising play from Croker and Hickson.
Whilst the Raiders registered a further try late in the match to winger Tre Williams, Parramatta unfortunately registered a further two and this ultimately sealed victory for the Eels.
Despite the loss, the Raiders delivered a terrific team performance with Croker and Hickson stand-outs.
Canberra now sits at 10th spot on the competition ladder.
Parramatta 28 (James Gammidge 3, Craig Field, Atini Gafa, Tui Olapou tries; Simon Fonua 2 goals) def. Canberra 26 (Lachlan Croker, Thomas Cronan, Jack Hickson, Kalani Going, Tre Williams tries; Lachlan Croker 3 goals)