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NRL Match Report: Second half surge sparks Raiders win

An impressive second half from the Canberra Raiders sees them secure their third straight win, defeating the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 34-20 win at GIO Stadium.

The opening half was a back and forth affair between the two fiery sides. The Bulldogs got on the front foot early to be the first put the points on the scoreboard. The Raiders went back to back to take the lead, but it was an impressive attacking effort from the Bulldogs gave them a 20-12 lead at half time.

An early error from Will Hopoate gave the Raiders a chance to get into the game early.

The Raiders came close to scoring just minutes into the first half when Nick Cotric’s efforts to keep the ball in the field of play was successful, but the video referee called it a no-try due to a knock-on from Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad in the scramble to get to the ball.

A strong Bulldogs defence forced Curtis Scott back into the in-goal gifting them a goal-line dropout.

It was moments later that a perfect pass from Lachlan Lewis sent Dallin Watene-Zelezniak cruising over the try line for the Bulldogs to steal the first points of the game. A successful conversion from Nick Meaney gave the Bulldogs a 6-point lead.

Raiders were quick to bite back, a ball off the boot of Jack Wighton on the last tackle sat up in the in-goal in favour of the Raiders, forcing the Bulldogs to take the ball dead.

Joseph Tapine showcased his strength, to power through the Bulldogs defence and ground the ball right under the post to put the Raiders right back into the game. A successful conversion from Jarrod Croker levelled the score 6-all.

Another knock-on from Hopoate put the ball into the lap of George Williams. Williams passed on the inside to Tom Starling who burst through a frazzled Bulldogs side to bag his second NRL career try.

Bulldogs kicked back into gear to apply the pressure in attack to snatch up three back to back tries.

Crossing the line first was Raymond Faitala-Mariner who caught the Raiders off guard on the right edge.

Josh Jackson was next to cross the try line to give the Bulldogs another four points, off the back of a well-placed kick from veteran Kieran Foran to provide the Bulldogs with a two-point lead.

Moments later, Kerrod Holland crossed the line right on half time to give the Bulldogs a healthy 12-20 lead heading into the half-time break.

Raiders gave away three back to back set restarts before Tom Starling got sent to the sin bin.

Curtis Scott was forced to come off after he sustained an ankle injury just five minutes into the second half. Young gun Matthew Timoko came on to replace him, making his NRL debut as Raider number 369.

Wighton proved just how deadly he is in the attack, opening the second half scoring with back to back tries to put the Raiders back in the lead. Wighton cracked the Bulldogs defence, reaching for the try line to score in the 48th minute before shooting through the defence again just six minutes later.

Raiders found the try line again just five minutes later, courtesy of Hudson Young who proved too strong for the Bulldogs defence. A successful conversion from Croker made it 28-20 to the Raiders.

Starling spotted a hole in the Bulldogs defence from dummy half to cross the try line for the second time of the night, in what is his first career double. Another successful conversion from Croker finished the score at 34-20.

Despite a messy first half from the Green Machine, they came back firing in the second half to secure their third straight win.