Match report by Michael Schirripa.
The Canberra Raiders Under 20’s capped off their Blumers Lawyers CRRL Cup debut with a 28-16 victory over the Woden Valley Rams at Phillip Oval.
In a physical encounter, the Raiders recorded five tries to three with halfback Jordan Williams claiming a hand in three tries.
The Raiders showed their intentions from the get-go, with hooker Mitch Souter showing some crafty work out of dummy half and linked up with Williams who crossed the stripe after four minutes.
The Rams were gifted a penalty for the Raiders defensive line being inside the 10 which led to first chance of the game for the home side.
Some good scramble defence from the Raiders on their own try line was enough to keep the Rams out.
The Rams would eventually strike back courtesy of a ricocheted grubber which fell in the lap of Sean Maloney which levelled the scores six minutes before the first quarter break.
Brutal defence on display by both sides as they headed into the first quarter break with the scores locked at six a piece.
Raiders centre Jeremiah Simbikin found some space down the right edge, but he put his foot on the touchline, the Rams started their set inside the Raiders half.
They were able to capitalise on the field position with winger Scott Swanson crossing in the corner to give them the lead eight minutes before the halftime break.
An error from the kick-off gifted the Raiders a chance to hit back immediately, but the Rams defence held strong as they carried Lachlan Lewis over the sideline.
A drop ball from Rams fullback Daine Spencer gave the Raiders a set on the opposition try line with under a minute remaining in the second quarter.
Tough defence on their own line was enough for the Rams to take a 10-6 lead heading into halftime.
The third quarter started with an error off the first hit-up from the Rams, but the Raiders knocked the ball on the next play from the scrum.
A penalty for a tackle in the air catapulted the Rams into the Raiders half, they almost extended their lead, but Maloney was unable to force the ball down over the line.
Woden Valley were throwing a lot at the Raiders defensive line, but the Green Machine held their own and carried Rams centre Lauchie Eveston over the sideline.
Canberra finally found themselves with some good field territory but were unable to crack a stubborn Rams try line defence.
The Raiders finally hit back after Cooper Harris capitalised on some flashy backline play, Williams was unable to add the extras and the score remained 10-10.
Another error from the kick-off gave Woden Valley a chance for an immediate reply but they squandered their chance after a stray grubber.
With the scores remaining at 10 a piece, the sides headed into the final quarter with it all to play for.
The Raiders hit the front two minutes into the final quarter after an incredible double chip and chase play by halfback Williams, who then linked up with Souter who scored adjacent to the posts.
They would extend their lead in the following set after an enterprising play down the left edge, Williams was able to gather a kick in field and linked with fullback Manase Kaho who crossed untouched.
The Rams found their way back into game, Spencer found some space and kicked for his halfback Brayden Robertson which shaved the Raiders lead to a converted try with less than six minutes to go.
Any chance of a comeback was soon shattered, after Raiders lock Josh Allen crossed over from close range with under a minute remaining and that was enough as the Raiders held on.