The Canberra Raiders have suffered a tough 14-10 loss to the Melbourne Storm in slippery, wet weather conditions at GIO Stadium.
The first half belonged to Canberra, as the ball movement and play the ball speed was simply too fast for the Storm to keep up with. Unfortunately rain that fell late in the first half continued on throughout the match, dampening the Raiders ability to move the ball as quickly as they had done so earlier on.
The Green Machine wasn’t able to play the type of wet weather football that Melbourne was able to. The Storm were able to complete their sets and make their tackles for the rest of the game.
The Raiders showed that they were in the contest for the long haul, grinding out the rest of the second half, unfortunately they were unable to crack Melbourne’s defence.
The Storm managed to score first after Jesse Bromwich exposed the Raiders defence early and made a line break. Cooper Cronk ran on the inside, but was tackled without the ball. Cameron Smith took the two points to take the early lead 2-0.
Canberra looked to be on the back foot again when Cooper Cronk booted a 40/20 kick. Cameron Munster looked as though he had scored his first try, but it was found by the video referee that there was obstruction. The Raiders were lucky to come out of the play without conceding any points.
The Green Machine was then gifted a penalty right in front of the uprights. Jarrod Croker opted to take the two to level up the score 2-2.
A Storm error inside their 20 metres gave the Raiders the opportunity they needed to get in front. On the second play of the set, the ball went out to the right through the hands of former Melbourne player Sisa Waqa to Jeremy Hawkins.
He brilliantly gave himself enough room away from the sideline and put the ball down just inside the right hand corner post. With the tough conversion being slotted by Croker, the Raiders stretched their lead out to 8-2.
In the 27th minute, Canberra began asserting its dominance on the first half after Sam Williams kicked early in the set to convert a huge 40/20.
Melbourne Storm then infringed once again in front of the uprights, allowing Canberra to extend their lead out to 10-2 after another penalty goal by Croker.
Rain then began falling on GIO Stadium which saw both teams play a much more contained game. This resulted in the first half ending with the Raiders taking a 10-2 lead into the sheds.
The Storm were first to score in the second half after repeat sets. Melbourne shifted the ball on the last tackle to Will Chambers who offloaded to Mahe Fonua who scored untouched in the right hand corner.
The conversion kicked by Cameron Smith brought Canberra’s lead back by two points 10-8.
Melbourne again piled on the pressure and the Raiders couldn’t handle it. As the Storm raided the right side again, a high bomb was collected by the Storm and immediately offloaded, which saw debutant Cameron Munster score his first NRL try. Again Smith converted the try as Melbourne regained the lead 14-10.
The rest of the match was an arm wrestle between the Raiders and the Storm, as both sides made attacking raids but both unable to convert from their opportunities. The wet weather didn’t allow anymore points to be scored and the game ended with the Storm coming out on top 14-10.
Melbourne Storm 14 (Mahe Fonua, Cameron Munster tries; Cameron Smith 3 goals) Def. Canberra Raiders 10 (Tries: Jeremy Hawkins try; Jarrod Croker 3 goals).