The Canberra Raiders have completed a comprehensive 36-20 victory over the Gold Coast Titans on the Gold Coast this afternoon.
Anthony Milford was brilliant in the game with two tries and having a hand in a number of the Raiders attacking forays. But ultimately it was a complete team effort that saw the Raiders snap a four game losing streak for their fifth win of the season.
It was a tentative open to start the game, but Brenko Lee broke the deadlock after Anthony Milford was able to dance around some Titans defence and then offload for the young Raiders centre. Jarrod Croker added the extras to give the Raiders a 6-0 lead after nine minutes.
The Titans restart was perfect with the ball bouncing over the head of Jarrad Kennedy. Canberra’s defence stood strong though surviving repeat sets from the Titans.
However an error coming out of their own half gave the Titans perfect field position, in the next set James Roberts got on the outside of Croker and scored in the corner. Kevin Gordon missed the conversion leaving the scores at 6-4 after 15 minutes.
Brad Takairangi nearly gave the Titans a lead, but he dropped the ball after intercepting a Josh McCrone cut out pass. The Titans then went on the attack after Dave Taylor made a 70 metre break, if not for some desperate defence from Terry Campese the Titans would’ve scored.
They couldn’t hold the Titans out though as Taylor then flicked the ball on to Kalifa Faifai Loa who somersaulted his way to the try line. Gordon converted the try to give the Titans a 10-6 lead after 24 minutes.
The Raiders then enjoyed a mountain of possession heading into half time where they denied the Titans possession of the football. In that period the Raiders had five sets which culminated in two converted tries and a penalty.
Dane Tilse set up the Raiders second try after he was able to break the Titans defence and then have the composure to then offload to Milford who scored the Raiders second. Croker gave the Raiders back the lead after he converted the try.
The Raiders were then awarded a penalty in front of the uprights and Croker converted the penalty to extend the Raiders lead to four in the shadows of half time.
Canberra were enjoying a good patch of play, and following some broken play Croker put a grubber in behind the Titans line forcing another set for the Raiders.
It was Milford’s afternoon and he then set up Croker’s try after a bit of magic, he batted a ball onto Croker who then stepped through three Titans defenders to score under the posts. Croker converted his own try to give the Raiders a 20-10 lead at half time.
Canberra would’ve been wary of coming out of half time with the right attitude after giving up a half time lead against the Titans earlier in the season.
The Raiders started better but they let the Titans off the hook when Sami Sauiluma was unable to control a Milford pass. The Titans nearly made them pay but it was judged that Takairangi knocked on after Shillington knocked on his grubber.
It gave the Titans another chance and an inopportune substitution left the Raiders short down the right hand side, and Gordon scored in the corner. Gordon dragged his conversion leaving the Raiders with a 20-14 lead after 57 minutes.
The big news out of the try was Lee bringing himself off because of injury prior to the try being scored.
A nice play from Glen Buttriss put Shaun Fensom through for the Raiders next try of the game, it was just Fensom’s 2nd try of the season but it was an important moment for the Raiders. Croker converted the try to give the Raiders a 26-14 lead with just over 10 minutes to go.
The game was then iced when Reece Robinson made a break down the short side before passing a cut out pass to McCrone who only had to catch the ball to score under the posts. Croker added the extras for the Raiders to extend the Raiders lead to 16.
Milford then set up a line break for Croker who then offloaded back to Milford who scored in the corner. Croker missed the conversion, but a stellar team performance from the Raiders had given them a 36-14 advantage with just three minutes to go.
A try right on full time to Fai Fai Loa following a cross field kick from Albert Kelly gave the Titans a bit of respectability for the scoreboard. Gordon converted the try to finish the game with the Raiders running out 36-20 winners.
It was a complete performance from the Raiders, but some flashes of brilliance and magic from Milford made him stand out in a man of the match performance.
The only concern for the Raiders was the injury to Brenko Lee who looked to have sustained a hamstring injury. Canberra will look to keep their slim finals hopes alive when they travel to AAMI Park to take on the Storm next week.
Canberra Raiders 36
Tries: Milford 2, Lee, Croker, Fensom, McCrone; Croker 6 Goals
Gold Coast Titans 20
Tries: Loa 2, Roberts, Gordon; Gordon 1 Goals