The Canberra Raiders got their season off to a winning start defeating the Wests Tigers 30-12 at GIO Stadium on Sunday.
With scores locked at 6-6 at halftime, the Raiders came out and dominated the second half. George Willams was a standout for the men in green with great attacking kicks and a strong running game.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Raiders - the Tigers had the better of the territory in the opening stanza, but James Roberts knocked on in his own half to give the Raiders their first opportunity in the Tigers red zone.
Young Raiders centre Seb Kris broke through the Tigers’ defence and looked to have scored in the ninth minute, but the Bunker ruled there was a knock on by Elliott Whitehead as he offloaded the ball to Kris.
It didn’t get better for the Raiders when Bailey Simonsson threw a risky offload inside the Raiders 10-meter line that was picked up by the Tigers. Minutes later Jacob Liddle crossed the line to put the Tigers out to a 6-0 lead.
But it wasn’t long before the Raiders hit back when Jordan Rapana scored in the left corner off a deflected George Williams’ kick. Williams, taking over the kicking duties from Jarrod Croker, was able to convert from out wide to level the scores at 6-6 going into halftime.
The Raiders came out swinging in the second half when club debutant Ryan James crashed through the Tigers defence from five meters out to score just next to the posts.
An illegal strip by the Tigers gave George Williams an easy kick for an extra two points, the Raiders extending their lead to 14-6.
Williams then picked up a loose ball minutes later running 60 meters to score - only to be disallowed by the bunker for illegal contact by Ryan Sutton.
Not to be denied again, Williams’ continued his masterclass when he put in a pin-point kick for Bailey Simonsson who offloaded mid-air for Hudson Young to score.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad then extended the Raiders lead to 24-6 with a try in the 68th minute. The Tigers made a break down the left edge but a poor pass allowed Curtis Scott to turn upfield, finding Nicoll-Klokstad who ran 50 meters to score in the right corner.
The Tigers scored late in the second half to make the score 24-12, but the Raiders hit back when Joe Tapine offloaded to Jordan Rapana close to the line.
Canberra Raiders 30 (Tries: J Rapana 2, R James, H Young, C Nicoll-Klokstad; Goals: Williams 5) d Wests Tigers 12 (Tries: J Little, D Nofoaluma; Goals: Brooks 2)