The Raiders may have been playing in specialised Marvel Hulk jerseys but it was the Warriors who put in a superhuman effort, and in front of 7,094 fans at GIO Stadium the Raiders were smashed by a disciplined New Zealand Warriors outfit 54-18.
The Warriors scored 10 straight tries before three quick tries late in the game brought some respectability to the scoreboard for the Raiders. Canberra’s woes were compounded by injuries to Shaun Fensom, David Shillington and Terry Campese.
Without their number one defender for much of the game the Raiders struggled to deal with an irresistible Warriors attack who tasted victory in Canberra for the first time since 1997.
Sione Lousi was a late inclusion for the Warriors and the back rower was first to hit the scoreboard after he burrowed his way under the Canberra defence. With Chad Townsend unable to add the extras from the sideline.
The Raiders were trying to be inventive with their play, and the kicking game of Terry Campese, Josh McCrone and even Anthony Milford keeping the Warriors on their toes.
It was the Warriors who were doing the damage where it mattered, and Sam Tomkins extended the visitor’s lead when he sliced through the Canberra defence to score under the posts. Townsend made no mistakes adding the extras extending the Warrior’s lead to 10 after 14 minutes.
Tomkins then made an error off the kick off which allowed the Raiders consecutive sets at the Warrior’s line. They were unable to make it count, and Shaun Fensom left the field with what looked to be a knee injury.
Konrad Hurrell was on the end of the Warrior’s next try after some razzle dazzle from Tomkins left the Raiders short on their left hand side defence. Townsend converted the try to take the Warriors out to a 16-0 lead with 11 minutes to go in the first half.
The Warriors then took a commanding lead when Ben Matulino crossed out wide, but in the lead up to the try it looked like Campese was impeded by Feleti Mateo, the video referee ruled there was no obstruction and the try was awarded. Townsend added the extras.
Sam Rapira joined the score sheet after finding a hole in the Raiders line, Townsend converted the try to complete a nightmare first half for the Raiders who were staring down the barrel of a 28-0 deficit.
Rapira got his double when he was able to burrow in under the post, with Townsend adding the extras to make it 34-0 with 34 minutes remaining.
It was ShowTime for the Warriors when Manu Vatuvei scored out wide, the Warriors then followed that up moments later with a break down the Raiders left hand side. From the break Tuimoala Lolohea was able to find Nigel Laumape with a cut out ball, and the winger raced away to score.
Following the conversion the Warriors were out to a 44 point lead. The Raiders woes weren’t just compounded on the scoreboard with forward David Shillington leaving the field with a pectorial injury.
The frustration from the boys was evident with Reece Robinson booting the ball high into the crowd after being called into touch. From that scrum Vatuvei was able to get his second try of the game when he scored out wide. Townsend’s conversion was wide but the Warriors had a 48 point lead with 15 minutes to go.
Moments later Vatuvei crossed for his hat-trick with Townsend adding the extras to take the score line out to 54-0 with 10 minutes to go. The Raiders were unable to get anything going in attack in a dirty day for the side.
Determined not to go scoreless McCrone was able to score the first try of the game for the Raiders, with Jarrod Crocker making no mistakes from under the posts with the conversion.
The Raiders were able to score again when some nice play led to Glen Buttriss finding Paul Vaughan who was able to add some respectability for the Raiders. Croker again added the extras to bring the score line to 54-12.
The flurry of late tries continued when Robinson was able to score in the corner. Croker converted the try after the siren to leave the final score at 54-18. Dane Tilse was named man of the match, the Raiders will be looking to turn this week’s result around next week when the side travels to Darwin to take on the Parramatta Eels.
New Zealand Warriors 54
Tries: Vatuvei 3, Rapira 2, Lousi, Tomkins, Hurrell, Mateo, Luampe; Townsend 7 Goals
Canberra Raiders 18
Tries: McCrone, Vaughan, Robinson; Croker 3 goals