A spirited performance by the Canberra Raiders Holden Cup team has seen them defeat the Cronulla Sharks 24-22 at GIO Stadium.
The victory was the side’s third consecutive win and solidifies their spot in the top four of the competition.
A highlight of the win was the standout performance by halfback Tre Williams on debut. Williams, a 2015 Australian Schoolboy, scored a try and set up two others which proved pivotal in the close encounter.
The Raiders defence was also a strong highlight which thoroughly pleased Coach Mick Mantelli and Captain Luke Bateman.
The Raiders started the match superbly by regaining the kick-off and going on the attack immediately. After getting a repeat set the Raiders scored through a well-placed grubber kick by Tre Williams, the elusive halfback then scored off the ensuing set with a nice show and go. The conversion was successful by Zac Woolford for an early 6-0 lead.
After the kick off from the Sharks went out on the full the Raiders were on the attack again. Canberra was then able to score in the corner after an overlap was spotted and the ball found its way to Thomas Cronan to get across and put the ball down. The conversion was unsuccessful from Woolford to leave the score at 10-0 with seven minutes gone.
Cronulla made it back-to-back tries in the 12th minute when Bradley Deitz found his way across the line after creating an opening with a dummy and running through it to score. The conversion from Jaden Clarke was unsuccessful leaving the score at 10-4.
The Raiders had a disallowed try shortly after when Cameron Booth appeared to have scored from a perfectly weighted grubber from Tre Williams however the Sharks challenged the call and were successful to keep the score at 10-4 with 23 minutes gone.
The Raiders got across the line again in the 33rd minute and there were no problems this time with Cronan scoring his second try of the game after the Raiders were able to create space out wide. Woolford was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt leaving the score at 14-4.
Unfortunately, the Sharks were able to get back into the game just before half time when Jesse Savage was able to get across the line after breaking through the strong Raiders defence. The conversion was successful from Clarke which reduced the score line to 14-10 in favour of the Raiders going into the sheds half-time.
Urgency in the Raiders defence ensured that they were able to keep the lead despite the constant pressure that was being piled on by the Sharks.
After intense attacking raids on the Raiders’ line, the Green Machine opened the second half scoring in the 63rd minute when a dropped ball from the Sharks was pounced on by Tre Williams and the debutant showed the speed he has to offer to run 70 metres before passing off to Jack Hickson who scored under the post. The conversion was successful to give the Raiders a ten point lead.
It was back-to-back tries for the Raiders in the 68th minute when Booth was able to get across the line after throwing a dummy out wide. The conversion was unsuccessful leaving the score at 24-10.
The Sharks refused to give in and scored in the 75th and 78th minutes to ensure a close last couple of minutes but the tenacious defence by the Green Machine resulted in a 24-22 triumph by the home side.
Man of the Match: Cleveland McGhie
Canberra Raiders 24 (Cronan 2, Williams, Hickson, Booth Tries; Woolford 2/4, Williams 0/1 Goals) defeated Cronulla Sharks 22 (Deitz, Savage, Brailey, Scott Tries; Clarke 1/2 Goals)