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NRL Match Report: Panthers hold off late Raiders fightback

The Canberra Raiders were unable to break the Penrith Panthers winning streak, going down 26-12 in a fierce battle at Campbelltown Stadium.

It was all the Raiders in the opening seven minutes, dominating possession against a tough Penrith defensive side.

A 40/20 from Jack Wighton gave the Raiders a chance to start building the momentum early.

The Panthers finally got possession, but it wasn’t long until John Bateman forced a dropped ball from Viliame Kikau on the 40-metre line giving the Raiders another shot to take the lead.

Panthers were quick to shoot back, dragging Jarrod Croker into touch and gaining possession again which proved costly for the Raiders when the Panthers capitalise on the opportunity.

It was a pass from Nathan Cleary on the inside to Viliame Kikau who shot through the Raiders defence to score the first points from the game. Nathan Cleary successfully converted the try to give Penrith a 6-0 lead just 12 minutes into the game.

Cleary put a tricky bomb kick which Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad was unable to secure which left Panthers in possession inside the Raiders defensive half.

A pass from Apisai Koroisau into the hands of Liam Martin who cruised over the try line, another successful conversion from Cleary in front of the posts made it 12-0.

A sloppy play the ball from Brent Naden gifted Raiders a shot to get back into the game but it was moments later that Panthers found themselves in possession again after a knock-on from Bateman.

Nicoll-Klokstad missed another high ball which then bounced off the back of Mansour's and into the in-goal, but Nick Cotric managed it get there first to kick the ball out and avoid another Penrith try.

A kick from George Williams ten metres out from the line bounces off the head of Croker and into Jordan Rapana's hands, who shot the ball out the back to Elliott Whitehead who dived over the try line which the bunker later ruled a no-try due to an accidental offside from Rapana.

Luai threw a cut out pass to Mansour to shot over the try line, but Raiders managed to hold him up.

Luai put a kick up for Stephen Crichton who took possession and found the try line. Cleary kicked the conversion to tie it up 18-0 with three minutes to go.

Cleary put a kick into the in-goal, sprinting after it forcing Nicoll-Klokstad to make a play at the ball, giving the Panthers another set of six.

It wasn’t long until Aekins threw a cut out pass to Naden who dives into the corner to score just seconds before half-time. Cleary makes a successful conversion to tie it up 24 -0 at half time.

The Raiders defence improved in the second half, where they managed to keep Penrith from scoring any tries, in what was a back and forth affair, with both teams managing to hold up the opposition in the in-goal on multiple occasions.

The Raiders managed to get their first points of the game six minutes into the second half when Nicoll-Klokstad showcased his strength, forcing his way through four Penrith defenders to meet the try line. Jarrod Croker converted the try to make it 24-6.

Croker was called offside, and Penrith decided to take the kick to make the score to 26-6.

Williams managed to find a hole in the Panthers defence and shot through to cross the try line, but obstruction from Corey Harawira-Naera caused the bunker to rule a no-try.

Nicoll-Klokstad showed his strength yet again, carrying two Penrith defenders over the try line to put Raiders back in the game. A successful conversion from Croker made it 26-12.

Josh Papalii gave away a penalty in the final minute of the game, giving Penrith a shot a goal, which was successfully kicked by Cleary to finish up the match at 28-12.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.