The Canberra Raiders have finished the season off in style knocking the Parramatta Eels out of the race to the 2014 finals with a gutsy 33-20 win at GIO Stadium in front of 13,706 fans tonight.
Despite a Jarryd Hayne inspired performance the Eels were unable to overcome our boys who sent veteran Brett White out in style for his final game. It was also Anthony Milford’s last game for the Raiders and he sealed the match late with a clutch field goal.
It means that the side has finished the year with three consecutive victories and in a positive sign for next year youngsters Mitch Cornish and man of the match Shannon Boyd were massive in the win. Jarrad Kennedy also put in a massive performance with 128 run metres and 35 tackles for the game.
Hayne came up with an error off an Anthony Milford bomb gifted the Raiders the first chance of the game. The boys took advantage with a perfectly executed backline play with Jarrod Croker able to find Jeremy Hawkins on his outside who muscled his way over the line to score. Croker converted the try to extend the Raiders lead to six.
In his last game Brett White was placed on report for a tackle on Darcy Lussick but there appeared to be nothing in it and it was a classic shot from the big man in his last game. The boys then showed some great composure in defence following a 40/20 from Chris Sandow with the Eels continually threatening to score.
The boys then extended their lead when Glen Buttriss sent Joel Edwards through a hole, Buttriss followed in support and was able to get in under the posts for his first try of the season. Croker converted the try to extend the lead to 12 after 19 minutes.
The match was a physical affair with Jeremy Hawkins soldiering through with a calf injury and Parramatta hooker Isaac De Gois leaving the field with injury. Mitchell Cornish was having a field day with his kicking game and he forced an error out of Semi Radradra with a spiralling bomb.
Hayne argued with Ashley Klein which gifted the Raiders a penalty. Croker opted to take the two points and the penalty was successful to take the Raiders to a 14-0 lead after 26 minutes.
A Shannon Boyd error allowed Parramatta field position and they hit back with a backline play that saw Ken Sio score in the corner. Sandow converted the try to bring the deficit back to eight with ten and a half minutes to go in the first half.
Then following another damaging kick this time from Milford, Edrick Lee was able to find Croker who then swung the ball out wide and Bill Tupou was able to muscle his way over the line. Croker extended the Raiders lead in the shadows of half time.
It was a terrific first half from the boys who went into the sheds with a 20-6 lead. White was superb in the first half leading all Raiders players with 70m off ten runs, he also had 16 tackles to go with it.
Croker who has made a seamless transition into the captain’s role was also terrific in the first half having a hand in two of the Raiders tries and making some terrific tackles in defence.
Parramatta knowing they needed a win to make the finals stepped up their pressure in the second half and were nearly in for a try but a pass from Radradra to Hayne went forward as the fullback was likely to score.
The Eels were throwing everything at the Raiders but they just couldn’t get over the line. The boys went even further in front when Milford was able to step out of a couple of tackles, find Josh McCrone who then sent Paul Vaughan through a hole with the Gungahlin Bulls junior muscling his way over.
Croker converted the try to take the Raiders lead to 20 and to also bring up 200 individual points for the year. McCrone then caught the Eels napping and he charged with the try was built off a brilliant run earlier in the set from Jack Wighton. Croker converted the try to take the score line to 32-6.
Tensions then boiled over and Josh Papalii was penalised with Ashley Klein placing everyone on report. Hayne made the discipline play by juggling a ball and placing a grubber through to score himself in the corner.
Sandow rushed the conversion and missed to the left side, leaving the scores at 32-10 with 20 minutes to go. Hayne then broke the line again with Wighton saving a certain try, the Eels were then gifted an extra set for a strip and Hayne then set up Sio for his second try in the corner.
Sandow missed another conversion keeping the Raiders at a three try advantage. Parramatta were coming and you could sense it, Radrada then found Ryan Morgan on his inside and he set up Hayne for his second try of the game.
Sandow converted the try to bring the scores back to 32-20 with 14 minutes to go. The game then became a tense battle with the Eels throwing the kitchen sink at the Raiders. Jarrad Kennedy shut the game down with a big run before offloading to Croker.
From there the boys used the ball well and Milford iced the game with a field goal. In the end the boys first half performance set up the win with the final score sending Brett White into retirement on the back of a 33-20 victory.
Canberra Raiders 33
Tries: Hawkins, Buttriss, Tupou, Vaughan, McCrone; Croker 6 goals
Field goal: Milford
Parramatta Eels 20
Tries: Sio 2, Hayne 2; Sandow 2 goals