Harold Matthews (Under 16s)
Canberra Raiders 34 defeated the North Sydney Bears 4 at North Sydney Oval
The Canberra Raiders have consolidated a spot in the top four after a comprehensive 34-4 victory over the North Sydney Bears on Sunday.
Canberra’s polished performance saw them finish the regular season in fourth spot on the ladder and has left their Coach Adam Kyle glowing with praise at full-time.
In the midst of Kyle’s praise though was the overriding emphasis that the job isn’t over yet and that he is anticipating his side to give this year’s semi-finals series a real shake up.
“It's been a great achievement from the whole squad and the staff,” Kyle said. “We started the season off back in November and to have progressed through to the finals shows how hard the squad and staff have worked.
“It's been a long time since a Raiders Harold Matthews team has made it through to the semi's so we won't be taking this opportunity for granted.”
The Green Machine were already guaranteed a place in the semi-finals prior to this encounter but instead of taking the last placed Bears lightly, the young Raiders were professional and mature in their approach.
With tough and durable forwards such as Jake Walker and Jesse Robertson leading the way, Canberra raced out to a 22-0 lead at half-time.
Despite North Sydney fighting back in the second stanza, the Raiders prevailed 34-4 winners with dynamic second-rower Matthew Lyons finishing with a double and Australian Under 15s fullback Nic Cotric registering 12 points.
“Our first half against the Bears was really good,” Kyle said. “We talked a lot about staying composed and making sure we stuck to our game plans and after leading 22-0 at half time I think we showed that.
“We were a bit disappointed as a group with the second half. Our completion rates dropped and we were a bit sloppy with our defence. Norths played really well and a great credit is due to them. It's been a hard year for them but they really tested us.”
The Raiders now take on the Newcastle Knights in the Qualifying Final next Saturday at 1:00pm at Campbelltown Stadium.
“We will just look at continued improvement going into the match against Newcastle,” Kyle said. “They finished minor premiers so we know it will be a great challenge. We need to make sure we turn up with massive energy and be prepared for the hardest game of the season.”
Canberra 32 (Mathew Lyons 2, Lachlan Cooper, Nikola Cotric, Samuel Finnegan, Jake Notaras tries; Nikola Cotric 4 goals) def. North Sydney 4 (Kelley Bowen try)
SG Ball (Under 18s)
Canberra Raiders 40 defeated the North Sydney Bears 10 at North Sydney Oval
Heading into this clash the Raiders faced the very real possibility of missing out on the semi-finals altogether, however an excellent 40-10 triumph over the North Sydney Bears has guaranteed the Green Machine a place in the 2014 semi-finals series.
Due to the congested bottom half of the top eight, the Raiders would be forced out of the top eight if they were to succumb to the Bears and other rival teams secured wins.
Thus the match was played with a win-at-all-costs feel.
With nothing to lose, the Bears came out firing from the onset and delivered one of their best halves of football for the year to narrowly trail the Raiders 12-6 at halftime.
The second half was all Raiders however with the Green Machine flexing their muscules to close out the half six tries to one to seal the match and ultimately sixth place on the competition ladder.
Canberra’s spine of Lachlan Lewis, Lachlan Croker and Jack Hickson were supremely impressive in this encounter and look set to cause some damage in the semi-finals series.
All three playmakers scored tries with Croker also slotting four conversions.
The Raiders now take on the Newcastle Knights in the Qualifying Final on Saturday at 2:30pm at Campbelltown Stadium.
Canberra 40 (Lachlan Croker, Thomas Cronan, Jiordan Fidow-Kele, Kalani Going, Jack Hickson, Lachlan Lewis, Cleveland McGhie, Tre Williams tries; Lachlan Croker 4 goals) def. North Sydney 10 (Nelson Florimo, Hayden McWilliam tries; Hayden McWilliam goal)