The Raiders NSW Cup side kicked off Indigenous round at GIO Stadium Canberra this Sunday, going down to the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 19-12 in a hard fought loss.
The Raiders were first to score, through a smart left side play orchestrated by Matt Frawley, putting second rower Luke Webley through a hole to score first.
Brad Schneider successfully converted the try to give the Raiders an early 6-0 lead in the eighth minute.
It was an end-to-end battle, with both forward packs showing a high work rate and gaining metres through a series of strong sets.
Both sides' defence was proving to be their strongest asset, with numerous forced errors being seen as a result of their clean defensive efforts.
In the 28th minute Blacktown’s hooker Nathaniel Roache made a line break, with Xavier Savage making a try saving tackle five metres out from the Raiders line.
The Sea Eagles capitalised on this momentum shift with Roache scoring off the back of a set restart to get their first points on the board. Jamie Humphreys converted to make it 6-all in the 30th minute.
With two minutes remaining in the half, Blacktown received a penalty and kicked for touch in a final effort to take the lead before the break.
Blacktown’s halfback Humphreys put a grubber through the Raiders defence in a last-ditch effort to take the lead, but the experienced Raiders winger Nick Cotric pushed it over the dead ball line to keep the score at 6-all heading into the break.
The Raiders started well in the second half as they began to threaten the Sea Eagles goal line, but an intercept by Blacktown’s winger Jackson Ferris saw Blacktown break away in the 46th minute.
Savage showed his speed with another try saving tackle as he chased down Ferris, but Brad Schneider was sent to the sin bin due to a professional foul.
The Sea Eagles took advantage of this, scoring during the next set through centre Brad Abbey. Humphreys missed the conversion to make it 10-6 in the 47th minute.
On the fifth tackle of Blacktown’s set, Corey Harawira-Naera took out the Sea Eagles kicker, giving away a penalty 25m out from the Raiders goal line. Blacktown’s halfback Humphreys opted to take the two, making the conversion to further their lead to 12-6 in the 59th minute.
Blacktown crossed the line again in the 67th minute with fullback Clayton Faulalo scoring down the left side. Humphreys converted to make it 18-6.
Raiders halfback Schneider took matters into his own hands, with an elusive run fooling the Sea Eagles defence where he scored his first try of the day.
Schneider converted his own try to help the Raiders close the gap as the score sat at 18-12 with eight minutes remaining in the match.
In the 74th minute Blacktown’s Humphreys kicked a field goal to end the game 19-12.