Digital Image by Grant Trouvile © NRLphotos : NYC   : 2015 NRL Round 1 - Cronulla Sharks v Canberra Raiders at REMONDIS Stadium, Sunday March 8th 2015.

The Canberra Raiders NYC side has defeated the Gold Coast Titans 46-18 in a high scoring encounter at GIO Stadium.

In Lachlan Croker’s return from injury, the star halfback was able to have a major impact on the game scoring a hat-trick of tries, kicking 7/8 conversions as well as providing several try assists in a brilliant all-round performance.

The Raiders were the first to score in the 11th minute, punishing the Titans for their il-discipline. After the Titans were penalised for not rolling away in the tackle, Tevita Pangai Junior was able to break open the Titans defence to score the Raiders first try next to the post. Croker was able to convert to give the Raiders a 6-0 lead.

It was back-to-back tries for the Raiders in a matter of minutes as they scored again shortly after the kick-off. Quick passing between the Raiders stretched the Titans defence and Brenko Lee was able to bust through and then pass back inside to Croker who was able to score. Unfortunately Croker was unable to convert his own try leaving the score at 10-0.

The lead was reduced by the Titans in the 20th minute when Karl Lawton found space in the middle of the Raiders defensive line and held off two defenders to score under the post. Jed Cartwright was able to convert meaning the Raiders lead was reduced to four points.

Great attacking play saw the Raiders able to add to their lead. Captain Luke Bateman threw a sublime offload to Morgan Boyle who burst through a gap in the Titans defensive line and scored under the posts, giving Croker an easy conversion for a 10 point lead in the 30th minute.

The Titans were able to reduce the gap right once again when Titans Captain Parahi Wilson was able to score after quick passing from the Titans found Lawton in space. The five-eighth then passed the ball back inside for Wilson to score. The conversion was successful from Cartwright leaving the score at 16-12.

The scoring was not over for the half however with the Raiders restoring the 10 point gap on the siren. Croker scored his second of the game after collecting the ball 55 metres out from a Titans kick and racing away to score under the post. The Goulburn junior then successfully converted his own try for a 22-12 lead at half time.

The Raiders started where the left off in the second half scoring in the 42nd minute. Croker scored his third try of the game after Cameron Booth put through a perfectly weighted kick that Croker was able to get to and score. Croker once again converted his own try for a 28-12 lead.

The quick scoring continued for the Raiders with Tevita Aroha-Tuinauvai finding the line despite having four Gold Coast defenders trying to stop him. The stocky centre was able to do so after a mistake from a restart by the Titans allowed the Raiders to have great field position. The conversion by Croker was successful to extend the lead to 22 points.

The lead was reduced once more by the Titans in the 50th minute as the Gold Coast side were able to spead the ball to the opposite wing to find space for Shane Wright to score in the corner. Cartwright stepped up and converted reduce the gap to 34-18.

The Raiders added to their lead in the 64th minute after a loose ball carry by the Titans. Pangai Junior was able to pick up the ball after the Titans lost control of it and threw an offload that found Brenko Lee who was able to score under the post. The conversion was easily converted by Croker to leave the scoreline 40-18.

The Raiders continued to dominate the scoreboard crossing again in the 70th minute. Croker again played a role this time putting a kick in towards the corner which Chevi Ellis was able to gather and then run around to score under the posts. Croker was once again able to convert for a 46-18 lead.

That was where the scoring ended for the day allowing the Raiders to run out 46-18 winners with Cameron Booth being named man of the match.

Canberra Raiders 46 (Croker 3, Pangai Junior, Boyle, Aroha-Tuinauvai, Lee, Ellis Tries; Croker 7/8 Goals) def. Gold Coast Titans 18 (Lawton, Wilson, Wright Tries; Cartwright 3/3 Goals)