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Raiders impress in opening game of the season

The Toyota Forklift Raiders have kick-started their season with a 28-12 victory against the Newcastle Knights on Thursday night at McDonald Jones Stadium. 

After a heartbreaking end to their season at the same venue last year, the Raiders returned and extracted revenge in the process through a strong defensive display and high completions. 

The Raiders looked to have claimed first points after Xavier Savage grounded a loose ball only to be denied by an Albert Hopoate fingertip. 

After a Phoenix Crossland 40/20 attempt was placed out on the full after some great kick pressure from Hudson Young, the Raiders claimed first points after a penalty was awarded for a crusher tackle on Joseph Tapine. 

Both sides struggled with ball handling early in the contest with a frantic end to end start to the contest before Kalyn Ponga would break through the Canberra defence and set up Tyson Gamble. 

Only for this to be denied after Tyson Frizell was deemed to deny Danny Levi an opportunity to make a play at Ponga. 

Hudson Young was sent to the sin bin after a late hit on Ponga, while Morgan Smithies was removed from the field for a head injury assessment which he was able to return from.

Despite being reduced to 12 men, the Raiders claimed the first try of the contest through club debutant Zac Hosking rising above the Newcastle defenders to claim a Fogarty bomb over the try line. 

A penalty provided the Knights with an opportunity to test the Raiders red zone defence, with a short ball from Gamble seeing Frizell breaking the first line of defence before stepping past Jordan Rapana and scoring their first try of the season.  

Both teams were denied by the bunker in consecutive sets in the shadows of half time with the Raiders taking a slender two point lead into the break, 8-6.

The home side started the better of the two sides before consecutive penalties provided the Green Machine with the first good ball opportunity of the second half. 

An opportunity that they took full advantage of through former Knight Danny Levi, ducking underneath Jack Hetherington between the sticks extending the lead to 14-6.

The game descended into a competitive arm wrestle with each team aiming up in defence and limiting the errors. 

A strong kick chase from Tom Starling and Josh Papalii resulted in Greg Marzew being driven back into the in goal area and provide some much needed momentum. 

The Raiders third try of the night came as a result after another Fogarty kick was successfully knocked back into the hands of Young who would tip onto Xavier Savage who sprinted for the corner. 

Another Newcastle error provided more field position for the Green Machine with a shift to the left hand side from Ethan Strange being finished off by Rapana, extending the lead to 16. 

Newcastle claimed a late consolation try through halfback Jackson Hastings who showed a dummy and went over untouched before Canberra finished the game with a beautiful team try in the 80th minute with Young scoring off a Hosking offload.

The Raiders will meet the Tigers next Saturday for the side's first home game of the season at GIO Stadium Canberra. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.