The Canberra Raiders have snapped a three game losing streak in emphatic fashion defeating the North Queensland Cowboys 42-12 at GIO Stadium Canberra this afternoon.
The Raiders went into the game needing a win following some disappointing performances after a good victory against the Storm a month ago.
North Queensland came into the game without four of their biggest stars due to State of Origin duties, including captains Jonathan Thurston and Matt Scott, while also missing Brent Tate and James Tamou.
Gavin Cooper was also absent this week after suffering a serious injury in the victory against the Roosters. While the Raiders were missing forward Josh Papalii and brought in Mitch Cornish for his NRL debut.
Despite the Cowboys absences it was going to be a tough ask for the Raiders who had lost 10 of their last 13 against the Cowboys. The game started as an arm wrestle with neither side looking like scoring in the early moments of the match.
Ethan Lowe who was promoted to the Cowboys starting side broke the deadlock scoring the first try of the game. Lowe converted his own try to give the Cowboys a 6-0 lead after 18 minutes.
Their lead didn’t last long as the Raiders were able to score 18 unanswered points to wrestle the game away from the Cowboys before half time.
Canberra got rolling after centre Jack Wighton scored when Anthony Milford found some space on the edge of the Cowboys defence, offloading to Wighton who was able to do the rest.
Croker was again reliable with the boot converting the try to tie the game up at 6 a piece after 25 minutes.
A few sets later the Raiders were awarded a penalty close to the Cowboys line, Dane Tilse flicked the ball back to Paul Vaughan who carried two Cowboys with him as he scored under the posts. Croker added the extras to give the Raiders a 12-6 lead with ten to go in the first half.
Canberra were awarded a penalty in front of the posts three minutes before half time after Tariq Sims was placed on report for a lifting tackle, Croker kicked the penalty to give the Raiders a 14-6 lead before the half.
They weren’t done however, following an enterprising run from Sami Sauiluma, Canberra again found space on the edge of the Cowboys defence and Wighton was on the end of it all to score his second try of the game.
The Cowboys started the second half better, and after what seemed like an eternity the video referee awarded a try to Curtis Rona. Lowe added the extras to peg the Raiders lead back to six points five minutes into the second half.
On their next set of possession the Raiders were able to hit back after Terry Campese found a gap 30 from the line, he drew Michael Morgan and passed to Jarrad Kennedy was able to score untouched, Croker converted the try to give the Raiders back their initial half time lead of 12 points.
North Queensland came close after some nice play on the Raiders’ try line. Robert Lui’s grubber was a touch to long for Antonio Winterstein to cleanly get a finger on it.
Canberra were in again when Robinson showed some fleet footwork before scoring in the corner, Croker swung the conversion in and the Raiders took a 30-12 lead after 60 minutes.
Croker then got himself a try after a Campese bomb, Croker contested Morgan for the ball and was able to gather the ball and crash over next to the posts. He converted his own try to take the Raiders out to a commanding 36-12 lead with 3 minutes to go.
The party wasn’t over however, Canberra broke the line again and Wighton was able to find Milford after he initiated the break, the Raider’s full back crossed under the posts much to the delight of the Canberra faithful. Croker converted the try to give the Raiders a 30 point lead.
After taking the lead the Raiders simply didn’t look back, they scored seven tries to two in a comprehensive victory. Paul Vaughan was named man of the match in a sublime Raiders performance.
Canberra travel to Allianz Stadium next week to take on the reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters.
Canberra Raiders 42 defeated North Queensland Cowboys 12
Tries: 2 Wighton, Vaughan, Kennedy, Robinson, Croker, Milford; Croker 7 Goals
Tries: Lowe, Rona; Lowe 2 Goals