The Canberra Raiders 2020 campaign has come to an end as they were defeated 30-10 by a rampant Melbourne Storm side.
The Raiders were brave in defeat and contested until the final whistle but were never in the contest as they faced a well-rested Storm juggernaut.
The Storm opened the scoring inside the first five minutes, prop Jesse Bromwich stormed onto a short ball from Jahrome Hughes and crashed over adjacent to the posts. Cameron Smith added the extras as the Storm led 6-0 early.
Melbourne extended their lead in the next set, a sharp backline movement led to Ryan Papenhuyzen scoring untouched, Smith’s kick was successful, and the Storm had a 12-0 lead.
The Raiders were punished again for their slow start, Suliasi Vunivalu was the beneficiary of some second phase play and crossed in the corner. Smith was unsuccessful out wide as the score remained 16-0 after 10 minutes.
Melbourne were awarded a penalty for an escort and opted to take the two points, Smith nailed the penalty goal and the Storm held an 18-0 lead after 15 minutes.
The Storm almost continued their perfect night, but Josh Addo-Carr was ruled to have not ground the ball.
The Storm did not have to wait long to cross, Nick Cotric failed bat the ball dead in goal which fell into the lap of Justin Olam. Smith added the extras and the score was 24-0.
Cotric would shortly redeem himself, a beautiful kick from George Williams landed in the wingers’ arms as he muscled his way over the give the Raiders their first try of the night. Jarrod Croker slotted the conversion from the touchline as the Raiders pegged back the lead to 18 with eight minutes remaining in the half.
The Raiders were able to build some pressure late in the half which gave them a glimmer of hope moving into the second half. Canberra head into the sheds trailing 24-6.
Canberra started off the second 40 minutes with a vengeance, the ‘Green Brick Wall’ drove Dale Finucane into the in the goal from the kick-off.
An error from Papenhuyzen 10 metres from his own line gave the Green Machine a perfect opportunity to score, but they failed to capitalise on the field position.
The Raiders weren’t going to die wondering, a beautiful play down the left edge from Croker and Valemei and a penalty gave them perfect field position.
After the Raiders were not able to capitalise, Melbourne put the game beyond doubt as Finucane crossed after a tap-back from Vunivalu. Smtih converted as the Storm held a 30-6 lead with 16 minutes remaining.
The Raiders would almost add some respect the score line, but a chip and chase from Cotric led to an error just before the line.
A penalty for obstruction against the Storm gave the Raiders a chance for a consolation try, Cotric would benefit from a lovely backline play for his second try of the evening. Croker missed the conversion and the score remained 30-10.
Melbourne were able to hold their 20-point lead as the Raiders will look ahead to a 2021 premiership assault.