The Canberra Raiders have recorded a grinding win over the Parramatta Eels, defeating them 30 points to 18 at GIO Stadium.
End to end football saw both teams start the match consistently as there were no errors in the opening five minutes.
The first try came eight minutes in when Aidan Sezer put in a great grubber which second row Sia Soliola latched on to the end of. Croker successfully converted the try giving the home side a six-point lead.
Canberra piled on the pressure from this point as costly errors were hurting Parramatta, gifting the Raiders plenty of attacking opportunity.
The Eels survived conceding more points when the video referee ruled Jordan Rapana’s hand to be over the sideline just before he got the ball down in the corner.
A great tackle from Bevan French sixteen minutes into the first half denied Jarrod Croker a try after he received a great ball back on the inside following a Nick Cotric line break.
Good field position was hard to come by for the Eels as the Raiders forward pack dominated the opening twenty minutes.
Half-way through the first half Michael Jennings looked sure to cross over for the Eels first points, however a great covering tackle from Sia Soliola denied him.
After a questionable forward pass from Eels lock Nathan Brown, put Clinton Gutherson into space on the half way line, the Eels scored their first try as Bevan French finished off the attacking move. Gutherson successfully converted the try for Parramatta making it six points each.
Minutes later a right side attacking play from the Raiders saw Jordan Rapana skip down the right sideline, doing well to stay in as he shaved the white paint. He linked up with Austin on the inside to send the raiders over for their second try of the afternoon. Croker converted giving the Raiders a 12-6 lead.
It was Deja Vu for Parramatta only one minute later as Canberra scored in their next set when Joey Leilua managed to get a kick away for himself in the corner, eventually diving on the loose ball in the in-goal. Croker missed the conversion and made the score 16-6.
Things went from bad to worse for the Eels just five minutes before half-time when an error inside their own thirty gifted Canberra with another attacking opportunity.
The two Canberra leaders linked up, as Hodgson put a great little kick in behind Parramatta’s defense to see Jarrod Croker dive on the ball, scoring his 100th NRL try. Croker converted his own try making it 22-6 going into half-time.
Parramatta started the second half well when halfback Corey Norman kicked a 40/20, putting Canberra under pressure. This lead to a Michael Jennings try following some poor right side defense from the Raiders. Gutherson converted the try, cutting the Raiders lead to ten.
The Eels forward pack turned things around from the first half by gaining some momentum and getting their team in good attacking positions. The game was suddenly in the balance when hooker Kaysa Pritchard scooted from dummy half to find the line. Gutherson converted besides the post to make it 22-18 for the Raiders.
The Raiders eventually found their sword again as some strong runs shifted the momentum back in their favour. However, Parramatta’s defense stayed strong denying the Raiders further points.
With twelve minutes left in the match it was clear that the next scoring play would be crucial in determining the result. Some individual brilliance from Nick Cotric gave the Raiders some breathing room, as he beat a numbers of Eels players to score solo from thirty metres out. Crokers conversion made it 28-18 with ten minutes left.
The Eels seemed to have lost their tail as they could not find any threatening attacking options after the Cotric try. A Jarrod Croker penalty goal made the score 30-18 with five minutes to go.
Canberra held off the Eels for the remainder of the match, recording their second win of the season as Aidan Sezer was named Man of the Match.
Canberra Raiders 30 (Soliola, Austin, Leilua, Croker, Croker (Penalty Goal) Croker 5/6) defeated Parramatta 18 (French, Jennings, Pritchard, Gutherson 3/3)