NRL Match Report: Raiders v Dragons
The Raiders have been defeated by 32-18 to a determined Dragons outfit today at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.
In a highly entertaining contest the Raiders made some errors in the first half and couldn't contain the Dragons who scored early points.
The Raiders showed plenty of spirit in defeat and will take key lessons out of the loss.
The Green Machine looked to score first through Jarrod Croker, but the video referee denied the team a four pointer, ruling Tyson Frizzell had a hand on Croker as he scored, ruling a penalty for a second movement.
After the Raiders were denied a try at one end, the Dragons went the length of the field and scored the first try of the game at the other. Benji Marshall put in a perfect grubber into the in goal area, with Garreth Widdop there to pick up the ball and score next to the uprights. After Widdop converted his own try St George took the lead 6-0 after 4 minutes of play.
Benji Marshall then continued to apply the pressure to the Green Machine with his kicking game, booting a 40/20.
On the back of that the ball made its way out to the right edge attack, Gareth Widdop then threw a cut out pass to Jason Nightingale who scored untouched. Widdop slotted the tough conversion looking into the sun and the score was then 12-0 17 minutes into the first half.
It was then the Raiders turn to show what they could do when attacking the Dragons defense in the 23rd minute. With a repeat set inside their attacking 20, Mitchell cornish held up a ball for Sia Soliola who picked a hole and opened the scoring for the Green Machine. With the important conversion being converted by Captain Croker the score was then 12-6 with the Raiders coming back into the contest.
Against the run of play the Dragons were able to earn themselves a penalty 30 metres out from goal and again opted to take the two points offered. Gareth Widdop stood up and slotted the penalty to extend the Dragons lead 14-6.
As soon as the Dragons took possesion off the kick off, they made a tired Raiders defense pay. Running strongly out of his own half Mitch Rein busted through the Green Machine defense. Good support play from Euan Aitken saw him score his first try under the posts, the easy conversion meant the lead was now 20-6 to the Dragons.
With only two minutes left in the first half the Raiders needed to score in order to stay in touch with the dragons, and they did just that.
Edrick Lee used his pace to good use down the left hand side running 35 metres out from his own goal line. As Canberra made it into the Dragons 10 metre mark a ball was knocked on by Josh Dugan which landed in the lap of Jarrod Croker. His quick thinking allowed a pass to Shannon Boyd who placed the ball down on the line whilst being tackled by 4 dragons defenders.
As the siren for half time sounded Croker converted the try and Canberra went into the sheds only being eight points down, 20-12.
Canberra then began the second half in terrific fashion, scoring just 4 minutes into the half. Running close to the line Mitch Cornish was again involved, holding up the ball for Josh Papalii to crash through a hole for the Raiders third try.
With the Raiders well on top early in the second half the Dragons were now only in front 20-18.
Unfortunately for Canberra their early work in the second half was becoming undone. In the 50th minute Widdop sent up a high ball which Nubuli managed to knock back into the hands f Joel Thompson who fell over the line to score. Gareth widdop again converted and the lead was again extended 26-18.
St George then began to assert their dominance on the game, scoring another try in the 57th minute. On the attack again Gareth Widdop combined with Benji Marshall through a grubber kick across the face of goal to score another four pointer. It began to look increasingly difficult for the Green Machine to find a way back into the contest.
From that point on the rest of the game was filled with errors from both sides. The Raiders lost the ball everytime they were in good attacking position or were making good metres. With only 4 minutes left of play it was only looking ever unlikely for a Canberra come back.
Unfortunately the Raiders were unable to get back into the contest after conceding the two quick tries just after half time. Towards the end of the game the Canberra were looking as if they could get back into the game, but costly errors in crucial moments didn't allow them to try and snatch the two points.