A second half barrage from the New Zealand Warriors has seen the Canberra Raiders Holden Cup side suffer a 54-6 loss this afternoon at GIO Stadium.
A solid first half from the Raiders saw the Warriors hold a 16-0 lead, but some quick fire tries from the visitors after half time snuffed out any chance of the Raiders registering a win today. The Raiders weren’t without their injury concerns either with Scott Doyle leaving the field in the hands of the trainers after taking a knee to the temple.
His loss was evident for the Canberra side who struggled to combat the size of the Warriors pack today. One highlight for the Raiders came when they were able to win a scrum against the feed and score on the next set through Cleveland McGhie.
The side started on the back foot when an early error coming out of their own half by Jack Williams gave the Warriors the perfect start, as the next set the visitors were able to cross courtesy of their captain Sam Lisone. Mafoa’Aeata Hingano couldn’t add the extras for the Warriors.
Following the try the game became a real arm wrestle with the Canberra side muscling up in defence, a clever grubber from Jack Creith earned the Raiders a repeat set at the New Zealand line, and it was evident the big Warriors were tiring with Brad Abbey in no hurry to restart.
The Warriors survived the Raiders attack with Scott Doyle knocking on close to the line, but some good patience from the Raiders nearly resulted in some deserved points. The Raiders were consistent in defence, denying the Warriors any real chances despite constant raids on the Canberra line.
Canberra’s kicking game was also near its best with Matthew Frawley and Lachlan Lewis controlling the game with beautifully placed kicks. Just when it looked like the Raiders were getting on top in the arm wrestle the game took a twist, with a rare error from Lachlan Hurst returning the ball allowing the Warriors an easy try to Marata Niukore.
Hingano was successful with the conversion with the Warriors taking a 10-0 lead in the 28th minute.
The Raiders then had a scare when forward Scott Doyle went down after going for a try. On replay Doyle appeared to have his head clash with the knee of Abbey in a sickening blow that stopped play for a number of minutes as Doyle was attended to by trainers.
A stretcher was then called and Doyle was taken straight to the rooms. A late try to Kouma Samson extended the Warriors lead right on half time, the conversion from Hingano extended the Warriors lead to 16-0 at the half time break.
Four quick tries after half time wrestled the game away from the Raiders, with the Warriors putting on a performance similar to the earlier season matchup between the two sides. Hingano was unable to convert Paul Ulberg’s runaway try, but the Warriors had raced away to a 36-0 lead in the 55th minute.
The Warriors were putting in a ruthless performance and when Nathaniel Roache crossed for his double the Warriors had a seven try advantage on the Raiders, who seemed to have no answers for the visitors.
It was shaping as a tough day for the Raiders, who have struggled since the decision was made to fast track three of the best forwards in the Holden Cup by moving them to the side’s feeder teams.
To add to the loss of Patrick Mago, Luke Bateman and Tevita Pangai Junior, Mitchell Barnett and Andrew Heffernan were unavailable because of injury and with Doyle going down in the first half with concussion it was always going to be tough for the side to compete with a close to full strength Warriors side.
When Bell crossed for his second try of the game, the Warriors had put 10 tries on the Raiders and with Hingano’s conversion they had equalled their early season effort against Canberra with the score line sitting at 54-0 with 11 minutes still on the clock.
A successful challenge from Matthew Frawley denied Abbey his second try of the game, with the video referee ruling that the fullback juggled the ball forward before scoring the try.
In a rare highlight for the Raiders they were able to win a scrum against the feed and a nice backline play saw Cleveland McGhie cross for the Raiders first points of the game. Kent’s conversion from the sideline was a beauty.
The Raiders were best served by hooker Dylan McGrath who was named man of the match, the Raiders will look to bounce back next week against the Parramatta Eels.
New Zealand Warriors 54
Tries: Roache 2, Bell 2, Lisone, Niukore, Samson, Hingano, Ulberg, Abbey; Hingano 7 Goals
Canberra Raiders 6
Tries: McGhie; Kent 1 Goal