NRL Match Report: Raiders dominate in Belmore
The Canberra Raiders silenced the Belmore crowd with an impressive 22-8 win over the Bulldogs.
Boosted by the returns of Austin, Sezer and Leilua, the Canberra Raiders bounced back from last week's loss to the Titans.
The big Bulldogs forwards were overpowered by the Raiders’ pack in the first half, as the Green Machine made easy meters.
Jarrod Croker gave Canberra an ideal start, scoring the first try of the evening. Former Bulldogs junior, Aidan Sezer, instigated the move when he played a beautiful pass to Papalii. With only the fullback to beat, Papalii passed to the Raiders captain who scored left of the posts.
Jack Wighton extended the Raiders’ lead minutes later after some magic from Josh Hodgson. Two meters out from the try line, Hodgson placed a grubber kick into the in-goal for Wighton to give the Raiders a 12-0 lead.
In his first match since round one, Sezer controlled the game with well placed kicks targeted towards Canterbury’s right edge.
Ten minutes from halftime, the Raiders were dealt a cruel blow when Soliola left the field with a suspected fractured forearm.
Despite the setback, the Raiders put more points on the board. Croker scoring a penalty after Tony Williams conceded a penalty.
With halftime looming, the Bulldogs managed to get back in the game after being awarded a penalty close to the try line due to a Boyd shoulder charge. Josh Reynolds took full advantage of the opportunity, scoring in the right-hand corner. An unsuccessful conversion meant the first half ended with the Raiders leading 14-4.
The Bulldogs came out firing in the second half but couldn’t penetrate the Raiders defence. After seeing out the storm, Canberra scored the first points of the second half with some impressive attacking of their own.
Jarrod Croker surged down the left wing before passing to Rapana who in turn passed to Sezer. The halfback sprinted through the middle of the ground before being tackled just short of the line. The pass from dummy half was heading towards Rapana but he was tackled off the ball by Josh Jackson. The Bulldogs second rower was sent to the sin bin for his effort and the Raiders took advantage.
Deciding to kick for goal, Croker scored before crossing for his second try of the night giving the Raiders a 22-4 lead.
There were a nervous few minutes for Raiders’ fans when a succession of errors gave the Bulldogs repeated sets in attack. Eventually, Will Hopoate crossed for a four-pointer but it wasn’t enough for the Bulldogs.
The win sees the Raiders jump to third on the ladder ahead of next Saturday's game against the Parramatta.
Raiders 22 (Croker 2, Wighton Con Croker 3/3 Pen Croker 2/2) beat Bulldogs 8 (Reynolds, Hopoate, Mbye 0/2)