NRL Match Report: Raiders tough out road win over Titans
The Canberra Raiders held off a fast finishing Titans outfit to secure a tough 30-22 win on the Gold Coast.
Jarrod Croker and Brenko Lee both scored doubles as the Raiders left edge ran rampant early in the match.
The only blight on the performance for the men in green were injuries to both Josh Hodgson and Kurt Baptiste who received head knocks.
Ricky Stuart made two late changes to his side with Paul Vaughan coming into the starting side. It took only three minutes for the decision pay dividends as the prop barged his way over the line after being sent through by Hodgson.
The Raiders had an opportunity to add to their lead minutes later when Nathan Peats tackled Elliot Whitehead high. Opting to kick for goal, Croker sent the football over the black dot from only ten meters out.
The Titans hit back through Nene McDonald on the wing. Roberts kicked the ball high across the field and the winger outjumped Rapana to score.
Twenty minutes into the first half, Titan’s centre Nathan Davis had to be taken off the field on a medicab after he sustained a serious injury on his right leg. The Raiders targeted the Titans right edge- and fill in centre Zeb Taia – and were duly rewarded when Croker snatched a towering cross field kick from the air.
Despite limited time in attack, the Titans kept themselves in the match with another high kick aimed towards the Raiders right edge. Both Wighton and Rapana leapt to diffuse Robert’s kick but they only managed to knock the ball backwards for Chris McQueen to pounce on.
The captain scored his second before halftime when a Tapine offload to Baptiste created confusion in the Titans defensive line. The utility passed the ball left to Wighton who produced a flat pass to allow Croker to score his second try of the afternoon.
The Raiders kept finding success on their left edge and Brenko Lee scored after tiptoeing down the sideline. A cut out pass from Wighton sent Lee through the line to score in the corner. Faced with a difficult conversion, Croker made no mistake to give the Raiders a 24-10 lead.
Facing back to back sets, the Raiders defence held firm before Lee intercepted Taia’s pass to run the length of the field to score.
However, the momentum swung in favour of the Titans when hooker Josh Hodgson was forced off the field after being on the receiving end of a brutal hit-up from Luke Douglas. With Baptiste already off the field due to an earlier knock, Bateman took over the dummy half duties.
The Raiders nearly scored another try but were denied by the bunker. After some good work from Wighton, the fullback dropped the football while trying to ground it, resulting in a Titans penalty.
A melee in the 63rd minute saw Greg Bird penalised for a punch to Tapine and the pair collided minutes later resulting in the lock being sent to the bin.
With the Titans down to twelve men, the Raiders looked to capitalise on their numerical advantage. Bateman dived over the line in a frenetic play but when the decision was sent back to the bunker, a knock on was detected earlier in the play.
However, the Titans score after some clever work from their rookie halfback. Ash Taylor took on the Raiders line and drew in the defenders before offloading to Ryan James to score.
An infringement by Paasi only twenty meters from their line gave the Raiders a chance to wrap up the game but Croker’s kick hit the post and bounced back into the field of play.
The Titans scored a late try to narrow the gap but it wasn’t enough for the Titans. A cutout pass from Roberts found its target in Macdonald who bagged his second try of the game.
However, the Raiders held on to secure an important away win that sees the side jump to 7th on the ladder.
Raiders 30 (Tries: Croker 2, Lee 2 Vaughan Conversions: Croker 4/5 Penalties: Croker 1/2) defeated Titans 20 (Tries: Macdonald 2, McQueen, James Conversions: Roberts 3/4)