The Canberra Raiders have capped off Dunamis Lui’s 150th game and maintained their perfect record over Queensland teams with a comprehensive 36-16 victory over the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium.
Doubles from Nick Cotric and Jack Wighton powered the Raiders to a victory which momentarily places them inside the top four pending other results.
The Raiders started off the game dominating the field territory and applied plenty of pressure on the Titans try line, but it came to an end via an error from Jack Wighton.
After an arm wrestle between the two sides in the first 13 minutes, Gold Coast struck first blood through Phillip Sami as he grounded a bouncing grubber to give his side a perfect start.
A penalty for a dangerous throw off the subsequent kick-off gave the Titans a chance to extend their lead, but Corey Harawira-Naera was able to produce a one-on-one steal.
It didn’t take long for the Raiders to bounce back, after back-to-back sets on the Titans line, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad threw a cut-out pass to an open Nick Cotric who scored in the corner. The scores would remain level as Jarrod Croker was unable to add the extra two after his conversion attempt battered off the upright.
The Raiders hit the lead 25 minutes in through a lovely executed try down the left-hand side, Wighton was able to wrap around Elliot Whitehead, who then found an open Jordan Rapana who linked with an unmarked Wighton, who scored untouched. Croker added the extras which gave the Raiders a converted try advantage.
A penalty for the Raiders the set after points gave them the opportunity for their third consecutive try and they would pounce on the opportunity. Wighton had his second of the afternoon after slicing through the Titans goal line defence to score adjacent to the posts. Croker nailed the conversion to give his side a 12-point lead with 11 minutes remaining in the half.
The milestone man Lui was able to continue his reputation as the ‘king of the strip’ as he came up with his fifth of the season to give the Green Machine another chance for some points.
The Raiders continued their assault and were gifted their fourth try of the afternoon, Tom Starling scooted from dummy half and plated the ball with authority to score his first NRL try. Another successful conversion from Croker gave the Raiders a 22-4 lead with four minutes remaining in the half.
The Titans had the last chance of the first half but were unable to crack the scrambling defence of the Raiders, the sides went into sheds with Canberra holding a comfortable lead.
Canberra had the first chance to attack on the opposition goal line and some enterprising play from John Bateman lead to a repeat set.
A wayward kick from George Williams gave the Titans a seven-tackle set, Jamal Fogarty ran down the field with open field in front of him, but Josh Papalii channelled his inner winger as he chased down Fogarty and produced the most remarkable ankle tap you’ll ever see from a ‘prop’.
The Titans had the first try of the second half, AJ Brimson crossed from close range as he bought his side back into the contest. The conversion was successful which bought the Titans back within two converted tries.
On the back of a penalty for a crusher on Croker, the Raiders put the game beyond doubt with Starling throwing a crash pass to Hudson Young who powered over two Titans defenders. Croker passed 2100 career points with the subsequent conversion to give his side a 28-10 lead.
The Raiders weren’t done there, Curtis Scott applied defensive pressure on the Titans line which forced Young Tonumaipea to pass, which was intercepted by Cotric who had his second of the game. Croker slotted the conversion over the black dot as the Green Machine recorded over 30 points for the second game in a row.
Lui came up with his second strip of the afternoon which led to Rapana crossing in the corner, but the bunker overruled it as they discovered a knock-on from the strip.
Some lazy defence from the Raiders allowed the Titans to cross for a consolation try with seven minutes remaining, Keegan Hipgrave scored under the post to give his side something to cheer about.
A penalty from the kick-off for an obstruction against Brimson gifted the Raiders a penalty in front of the post, Croker opted for the two points to take his personal tally to 12 points for the afternoon.
The Raiders were able to wind down the clock as they registered their fifth win from the last six games.