The Canberra Raiders have gone down 26-4 to the Newcastle Knights in front a parochial crowd of 6,350 at the club’s spiritual home Seiffert Oval.
The match didn’t start ideally for the Raiders with star centre and Captain Jarrod Croker leaving the field after a head clash with opposition centre Sione Mata’utia. Croker did not return for the remainder of the match due to concussion.
Jordan Rapana came on to replace Croker with Jeremy Hawkins shifting to centre and Rapana playing on the wing.
The Cook Islands representative made a scything 50 metre line break soon after and went onto be one of the Raiders best in the loss.
Newcastle’s winger on the opposite end to Rapana was Akuila Uate who had a great game for the Knights, crossing for a hat-trick of tries.
Uate scored the first of his three tries and the first try of the match in the 18th minute after a lovely Jarrod Mullen long ball.
The Fijian international crossed for his second five minutes later on the back of some similarly great Mullen ball-play.
Canberra then had several opportunities to post points however the ball went to ground on two occasions and the other was booted dead by Mullen as Mitch Cornish chased down a Rapana grubber.
Knights centre Joey Leilua crossed for the final try of the first half in the 35th minute after quick hands in the backline. Halfback Tyrone Roberts’ conversion extended the Novocastrian’s lead out to 14-0.
Coach Ricky Stuart selected several youngsters to play in the second stanza and whilst the experience did the youngsters a world of good, ultimately the Knights just ran away with the result in the end posting two more tries to Adam Clydesdale and Uate.
The Raiders sole try was scored by inspirational lock forward Shaun Fensom in his return game from injury. Fensom scored by supporting a Jarrad Kennedy line break off a sublime Sam Williams short ball.
Newcastle Knights 26 (Akuila Uate 3, Joey Leilua, Adam Clydesdale tries; Tyrone Roberts 3 goals) defeated Canberra Raiders 4 (Shaun Fensom try)