The Canberra Raiders have broken a two-year curse after defeating the Penrith Panthers 30-12 at McDonalds Park in Wagga Wagga on Saturday afternoon.
This is the Raiders’ first victory over the Panthers in the past four matches between the clubs.
Despite losing John Bateman early on through injury, the Green Machine managed to keep the Panthers at bay throughout the game and win their sixth match of the 2019 season.
The Raiders were the first to score eight minutes in after Sam Williams placed a perfectly timed grubber for Michael Oldfield, who came in late to the side to replace the injured Joey Leilua.
Ten minutes later fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was sin-binned for a professional foul, however, the Panthers were unable to capitalise immediately.
A beautiful one-two passing play between Elliot Whitehead and Jack Wighton allowed the Raiders five-eighth to break away from the Panthers defenders and double the lead.
A dropout kicked out on the full from Penrith’s James Maloney allowed Jarrod Croker to add an extra two points and send the Raiders into the sheds with a 14-point lead.
Canberra started the second half on the back foot after Nathan Cleary found a gap in the Raiders defence and crossed eight minutes into the second half.
The Raiders bounced back six minutes later as Nicoll-Klokstad picked up the ball from dummy-half and barged his way over after a Cotric line-break came up short of the line.
With 20 minutes remaining, a penalty right in front of the posts allowed Jarrod Croker to kick another two points and further put the home side ahead.
The Raiders scored their fourth of the match thanks to Hudson Young, who picked up a ball from dummy-half and pushed his way past two Penrith defenders.
It was an immediate response from the Panthers after a successful short kick-off allowed James Tamou to spot a gap and sprint through the Raiders defence.
A late penalty for the Raiders saw Croker kick his seventh goal of the match and close out an 18-point victory for the home side in Wagga Wagga.
Canberra Raiders 30 (Tries: Oldfield, Wighton, Nicoll-Klokstad, Young. Goals: Croker 7/7) def.
Penrith Panthers 12 (Tries: Cleary, Tamou. Goals: Cleary 1/1, Maloney 1/1)