The Canberra Raiders have kicked off their trial match campaign, with a solid 32-20 win over the Melbourne Storm at EW Moore Oval in Griffith.
The Raiders trialled 23 players for the match, with a mix of youth and experience on show to give Ricky Stuart some food for thought ahead of the second trial against Newcastle in two weeks’ time.
The Raiders scored the opening two tries of the match to take an early 12-0 lead, with both coming down the left hand edge. First up it was Haydon Hodge who was on the end of a nice build up, then Jeremy Hawkins, who’s strong carry allowed him to burst over to score the Raiders second.
Jordan Rapana proved to be a handy goal kicking option for the Raiders, as he slotted the first two kicks from the touchline.
The Storm hit back through Young Tonumaipea when he crossed out wide, before the Raiders pushed their lead back out to 16-4 when Patrick Mago scored on the right hand side of the field.
A second try to Tonumaipea dragged the score back to 16-10 and that’s where the score remained at the end of the first half.
The Storm cut the Raiders lead to two just after halftime when Richie Kennar scored, before Sam Williams pounced on one of his own short kicks to score a try and extend the lead to 22-14 at the end of the third quarter after Rapana converted.
A barnstorming run from a penalty tap gave the Raiders their next try, as Luke Page showed strength and power to burst over for another Raiders try and a 28-14 lead with another Rapana goal.
Tim Glasby gave the Storm a chance to get back into the match when he scored and they converted, but Jeremy Hawkins squashed any comeback with a try in the final minutes to give the Raiders a comfortable 32-20.
The Raiders will have a week off now while the NRL All-Star match is played on the Gold Coast, before returning to Seiffert Oval on February 21 to play the Newcastle Knights in their final trial match before the season.