The Canberra Raiders have defeated the Brisbane Broncos 36 – 8 at GIO Stadium, in the Raiders highest-scoring game of the 2020 season.
Brisbane looked composed in the first half of the clash with 62% of possession and a two-point lead going into the break locked in at 6 – 8.
The Raiders dominated in the second half for their biggest attacking effort all year as the combination of George Williams and John Bateman was just one of the many highlights of the Raiders win.
The Broncos opened the scoring in Canberra with a try to Jesse Arthars after six minutes of play off a line break from Katoni Staggs. An impressive ball from David Fifita to Staggs put him into space as he made a break down the side and kicked to the in-goal to set up the try. The scoreboard read 4 – 0 after a missed conversion from Staggs.
Canberra’s first points came off back to back sets with a clever ball from George Williams to Jordan Rapana putting him over the try line after 13 minutes. Jarrod Croker put his team in front with a successful conversion to take the lead 6 – 4.
A huge kick from Williams went dead, giving Brisbane a seven tackle set and the visitors worked their way down the field as the combination of Staggs and Arthars troubled the Raiders line again.
Jack Wighton kicked out on the full which gave Brisbane another opportunity that saw Payne Haas get an offload away to Brodie Croft who slipped through the line, but the kick was cleaned up by the Raiders.
A captain’s challenge from Brisbane against a knock-on was unsuccessful and the Raiders took possession, but Brisbane held on to their challenge as there was involvement from Wighton in an offside position.
Brisbane got another shot off the back of a lost ball from Ryan Sutton, but Nick Cotric cleaned up a kick from Brodie Croft and helped his side down the field before Wighton’s kick went dead, giving another seven tackle set away with 10 to go in the first half.
A kick from Tom Dearden was cleaned up by Staggs as the Broncos continue to test the Raiders defence, and after a set restart gave them another shot, Dearden earned his team a third set with a kick to the in-goal that Rapana couldn’t get back into the field of play.
After a huge defensive effort from the Raiders on their line for almost 10 minutes, the Broncos broke through off a kick from Darius Boyd that Cotric couldn’t clean-up which put Herbie Farnworth over the line to take the lead. Staggs was unable to convert as the scoreboard read 6 – 8 going into half time.
Broncos hooker Jake Turpin left the field after 30 minutes with a broken hand which forced some changes in the Brisbane line.
The combination of the Englishmen troubled Brisbane early in the second half with John Bateman putting George Williams into the in-goal five minutes after the break. Croker added the extra two with for a 12 – 8 lead.
The Raiders looked more in control with more of the possession in the second half with Dearden giving the Raiders a seven tackle set off a kick that went dead.
The Raiders capitalised off the Brisbane error with an offload from Joseph Tapine that created space for Cotric to score in the corner. Croker successfully converted from the sideline to put his team 10 in front on 18 – 8 after 52 minutes.
A penalty to the Raiders helped them down the field but Rapana was denied his second try of the night as he leapt for the corner but was unable to maintain control in the tackle of Dearden.
The Broncos lost possession and the Raiders went back on the attack, and a kick from Williams was collected by Bateman for his first try of the season as the Wigan combination struck again. Croker added the extra two for a 24 – 8 lead with 20 minutes to go.
The Raiders went back to back with a break down the left edge through a line-break from Croker and a clever chip down the field that was taken by Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad another Raiders try and successful conversion for a 30 – 8 lead.
Corey Harawira-Naera made a line-break down the middle as the Raiders went on the attack again and the Broncos couldn’t hold them out as Cotric earned himself his second try of the night. The Raiders captain added the extra two again with a 36 – 8 scoreboard.
Rapana was denied another try as Staggs was put on report for a high tackle and in the next set, Payne Haas was put on report for a crusher tackle in what proved to be a costly night for the Broncos.
Wighton dived over in the final six minutes but he too was denied, this time for obstruction, as the Raiders continued to seek out points.
In the dying minutes, Brisbane got a chance to close the gap as Farnworth dived over but couldn’t come up with points, and the Raiders travelled down the field with a final attempt to earn some points, but the ball went dead right on the buzzer.