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NRL Match Report: Raiders suffer Panthers defeat

The Raiders suffered a hard loss on Friday night in a physical battle against the Panthers at BlueBet Stadium.

After a tribute of a minute silence in honour of Tommy Raudonikis it was game on between the two sides.

It was a physical battle between the two sides in front of a sold-out BlueBet Stadium, with high intensity from the kick-off. An early loss of fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad forced the Raiders to reshuffle their side.

The Raiders had control in the opening minutes, showing moments of dominance in both attack and defence. 

Penrith got the first 6-again call for the match just 30metres from their line, but with the Raiders defence they were unable to hold onto the ball.

A kick from Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary in the 8th minute of play was too long, rolling over the dead ball line showing early nerves from the home team.

The Raiders continued to pressure Penrith, and in the 11th minute Jack Wighton dove over for the opening try when he teamed up with halves partner George Williams. Jarrod Croker converted, giving the Raiders a 6-0 lead.

Penrith responded with kick-off that was too good from Nathan Cleary as it spun and bounced over the sideline, giving Penrith the ball. Thankfully the Raiders defence put pressure on the home side, and they were unable to hold onto the ball.

The Raiders had an opportunity to attack on their line after Stephen Crichton stepped out of play when catching the ball. Jack Wighton took a chance on the left when he grubbed in-goal, but Jarrod Croker’s attempt to ground the ball was unsuccessful.

A high tackle in the 20th minute on Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad once again sent Raiders down to attack the middle of the field.

It was a huge loss for the Raiders when Nicoll-Klokstad left the field in for a HIA, pushing Jordan Rapana to fullback for the remainder of the game.  

A grubber kick from Jordan Rapana down the left edge forced Penrith fullback Stephen Crichton to knock the ball on. In a string of attacking chances the Raiders forced a drop out in the next set, but in a high intensity, a push and shove saw the Raiders give a penalty against them.

Penrith used the momentum to charge down field, and a flick pass from Stephen Crichton gave Charlie Staines the first try for the Panthers. Cleary converted from the sideline to equal the score 6-all.

A high kick from Nathan Cleary was too hard for Rapana to hold onto, but he was just able to ground the ball in-goal with immense pressure from Jerome Luai.

Penrith were strong in attacking, forcing a second dropout in a row after a chip kick in goal off the first kick.

The Panthers took the opportunity while they had the Raiders on the backfoot, and it was a precise cut-out ball from Jerome Luai that sent Matt Burton over next to get the Penrith ahead 12-6.

Raiders continued to defend Penrith in some steaming attacking sets.

Jarome Luai was too good on the line as he grubbed into goal on the first tackle, regained the ball and scored another try for Penrith. The Panthers extended their lead 18-6. 

Penrith started the second half looking extremely dangerous when Spencer Leniu broke a tackle running down to the opposing 40metre line.

The Raiders had a push of momentum in the 45th minute but an unforced error saw the ball be turned over.

In the 49th minute Nathan Cleary kicked the ball out on the full, giving the Raiders a chance to charge down to their goal line.

Raiders held Penrith in attack, and they were able to force Charlie Staines over the line. A strong run by Seb Kris pushed momentum for the Raiders. 

When the Raiders looked busted in the 59th minute, Hudson Young took charge busting through the line. The ball shifted to Elliott Whitehead who got the ball to Jarrod Croker in quick motion, who then dove over for the Raiders second try, closing the gap to 18-10.

Penrith responded quickly in the next set on the line, and Charlie Staines was able to go over for his second try. Cleary converted to make the score 22-10 with 15minutes to go.

An intercept by Nathan Clearly with just five minutes to go, gave Raiders a hard score line to catch up to sealing the win for the Panthers.

Penrith were too strong in the end, finishing the game 30-10.

Canberra Raiders 10 (Tries: Jack Wighton, Jarrod Croker Goals: Jarrod Croker 1)

Penrith Panthers 30 (Tries: Charlie Staines 2, Matt Burton, Jarome Luai, Nathan Cleary Goals: Nathan Cleary 5)