The Canberra Raiders NYC team overcame an error-ridden start to eventually overpower the Newcastle Knights in a comprehensive 46-28 victory.
Injuries caused a couple of late changes to the Raiders side, with Thomas Cronan and Connor Brebner replaced by NYC debutants Harry Van Dartel and Stanley Takalua.
The Raiders started poorly, with a forward pass straight off the kick-off gifting Newcastle a perfect attacking position. Back to back penalties to the Knights caused the Raiders defence to be tested early, with the Knights eventually crossing on the left through Faitotoa.
The Raiders continued to struggle for field position, with errors and penalties not helping their cause. The Knights continued to mount pressure on the Raiders defence and managed to get on the board again. A grubber kick in behind the Raiders defence was finished off by Matt Soper-Lawler.
15 minutes into the first half and the Raiders finally had their first attack of the match. Zac Woolford continued his strong start to the season, darting out of dummy half to power across for the Raiders first.
The Raiders resurgence was brief lived, as a period of errors and penalties again gave the Knights a lions share of possession in the Raiders half. A super grubber kick by the Knights five-eights, Brock Lamb, was again finished off by Soper-Lawler.
At the 30 minute mark the Raiders found themselves on their second attack of the half. A couple of powerful carries by Daniel Dole set William Samuel up to cross for his first ever NYC try under the posts. Woolford duly converted the try from in front.
Filling in for Lachlan Croker last weekend, Zeik Foster showed he belongs in the Raiders NYC team, finishing off an excellent run by Jack Hickson down the right wing. Woolford nailed the conversion to even up the scores.
Foster was right back in the action only moments later, finishing off a break up the middle by Lachlan Lewis. Woolford converted the try to give the Raiders a 6 point lead heading into half-time, 22-16.
The second-half started in similar fashion to the first, with a Knights error straight off the kick-off. The Raiders heaped pressure on the Knights but unfortunately came up with an error as they were closing in on the line.
The Raiders didn’t have to wait much longer however before opening their second half account. Lachlan Lewis showed off his footwork in scurrying around the Knights defence to score.
The Knights weren’t going to go down without a fight, hitting right back through Ryan Glanville. A successful conversion by Brock Lamb from the sideline kept the Raiders lead to 6.
Momentum continued to swing in the game, with a Raiders attack desperately unlucky not to finish with a try. Chevi Ellis was held up in the in-goal, before a Lewis grubber kick hit the posts just when it looked like the Raiders were about to pounce on the ball.
The next grubber kick had much more success, with Tre Williams using a short kick to perfection. Lachlan Lewis latched onto the kick for his second try of the game, stretching the Raiders lead out to 12.
The game was delayed with in the 65th, as the Raiders Sione Afemui was stretchered off with an injury.
Tre Williams sealed the game for the Raiders with ten minutes left, bursting up the middle to score under the posts. Woolford continued his fine form with the boot to convert from in front.
Kalani Going further pushed the lead out, with a show of brute strength in dragging four Knights defenders across the line. Tre Williams converted the try, with the Raiders captain Woolford now resting on the bench.
A late consolation try to the Knights saw the final margin of victory end up 46-28. With errors and penalties threatening to derail the Raiders in the first half, it was a spirited performance by the Raiders in keeping their composure and eventually finishing as convincing winners.
Canberra Raiders (Woolford, Samuel, Foster 2, Lewis 2, T Williams, Going, Woolford 6/7, T Williams 1/1) 46 defeated Newcastle Knights (Faitotoa, Soper-Lawler 2, Glanville, Grudgeon, Lamb 4/5) 28