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Rolling Raiders crowned NSW Cup premiers in inaugural season

The Rolling Raiders achieved the fairytale ending to their inaugural NSW Cup Wheelchair Rugby League season as they lifted the trophy after a triumphant Grand Final victory.

The Raiders rolled into Menai Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday and secured a dominant 50-36 victory over the minor premiers and competition favourites, the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The unlikely premiers from Canberra had finished last in the four-team competition but remarkably went on a stunning run in the finals to earn their place in the Grand Final.

Their journey to the big dance began with a commanding 60-30 victory over the Wests Tigers in the first week of the finals, followed by another impressive 42-12 win against last years premiers, the Parramatta Eels, in the preliminary final.

Heading into the Grand Final, the Raiders remained underdogs, having previously suffered significant defeats against the Dragons during the season, losing 56-22 in round three and 50-36 in round six.

But the Toby Popple led Raiders showed up once again, taking an early lead and maintaining control to secure the victory.

Zac Carl played a pivotal role in the win and was recognised with the best on court award for his outstanding four try performance. 

All eyes will now be on Toby Popple and Zac Carl as they make the trek north to take on Queensland in the 2024 Wheelchair Rugby League Interstate Challenge as NSW representatives. 

The Rolling Raiders would like to thank Entice Travel and Zatoma Transport for their support throughout the season, the fans that came out to watch, and the supporters that tuned into the livestream at home.

Wheelchair Rugby League and preparations for the 2025 Rolling Raiders season will begin soon with the local Wheelchair Rugby League season commencing in August.

Click here to find out more about our Wheelchair Rugby League program.  

Match Report

The Raiders quickly surged ahead as Zac Carl capitalised on captain Toby Popple's long-range kick to open the scoring in the fourth minute. Brad Burns followed suit soon after, scoring the team's second try.

A mistake from the Raiders gifted the Dragons their first attacking opportunity, which saw Cory Cannane cross to bring the score to 10-4.

The connection between Raiders' star players was on full display, as Carl capitalised on another Popple kick to score his second try, followed by a brilliant inside ball from Chris O’Brien set up Popple under the posts.

Carl proved to be unstoppable in the first half, adding two more quick tries to rack up a total of four in the opening half.

The Dragons hit back after finding some attacking flair with father-son combination of Craig and Cory Cannane, which saw Cory cross for his second try of the match.

The Raiders had the final word before halftime, as O'Brien scored under the posts to extend their lead to 36-10. 

Both teams traded tries early in the second half, with Burns scoring his double, Cory completing his hat-trick for the Dragons, and Jamie Osborne also crossing the try line for the Raiders.

Popple later found a gap in the Dragons defense near the line to score his second try, bringing the Raiders score to 50 points.

Cory was determined to mount a comeback for his side, scoring his fourth try before quickly setting up teammates Mitch Stone and Danny Jeffery for two more tries, narrowing the margin to 14-points.

But the Raiders held firm in the final 15 minutes, celebrating as the final whistle signaled their impressive 50-36 Grand Final victory.

Raiders: 50

Tries - Carl (4), Popple (2), Burns (2), O’Brien, Osborne

Conversions - Burns (4), Carl

Dragons: 36
Tries - Cory Cannane (4), Stone, Jeffery

Conversions - Craig Cannane (4)

Rolling Raiders

1. Bradley Burns

2. Mitchell Sentence

3. Nick Alexander

4. Anthony McQueen

5. Amanda Carlyon

6. Jaimz Knight

7. Zac Carl

8. Chris O’Brien

9. Toby Popple

10. Victoria Simpson

11. Jamie Osborne

St George Illawarra Dragons

1. Craig Cannane

2. Cory Cannane

3. Edge Iole

4. Mitch Stone

5. Danny Jeffery

6. Tom Friedrich

7. William Derederenalagi

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.