Canberra Raiders 56
Tries: B Austin 2, J Croker 2, P Vaughan, J Rapana, J Papalii, I Soliola, E Lee, S Williams
Goals: J Croker 8/10
Gold Coast Titans 16
Tries: A Don 3
Goals: A Sezer 2/3
The Canberra Raiders and Gold Coast Titans headed into Saturday’s clash as two of the in-form teams of the competition, however it was only the Raiders who left GIO Stadium with their pride in-tact. The Titans were victim of a 56-16 demolishing at the hands of Ricky Stuart’s side, as they struggled to contain an outstanding team performance from the Raiders.
In the first match to reach 50 points in 2015, the Raiders also managed to secure their first home victory of the season, as they dominated the Titans in all aspects of the competition. Despite the Titans having a better completion rate, the Raiders made the most of their extra possession with the ball, scoring a whopping 10 tries.
Inspirational five-eight Blake Austin was once again the catalyst to the Raiders success, scoring a double through the use of his devastating footwork, on the back of his standout performance in the City vs. Country clash the week before. Country and Raiders teammate Jarrod Croker also continued his strong form from the rep clash, as he also crossed the try-line twice.
The Raiders attacking brilliance was the talk of the day, however it was their work off the ball which allowed for such a comprehensive victory. They managed to limit the Titans to only three tries, all scored by winger Anthony Don, on the back of their stinging hits and desperate cover defence.
The icing on the cake for the Canberra side came in the 72nd minute, when winger Edrick Lee snatched an intercept off future Raiders teammate Aidan Sezer to race 100m to score. Titan James Roberts proved why he is regarded as undoubtedly the fastest man in the NRL, as he almost managed to chase down the Raiders flyer despite having to turn and run with a five metre deficit. Lee displayed good balance to shake off a last-ditch ankle tap and score the try.
The Titans were certainly missing Greg Bird’s mongrel and influence in defence, resulting in the Raiders big men running riot through the middle of the field. 11 members of the Raiders team managed to crack one hundred running metres, including six forwards.
Backrower Ryan James was the only Titan to match the aggression of the Raiders pack, however his fiery battle with several of the Raiders players wasn’t enough to inspire his teammates to lift. Former representative star Dave Taylor was especially unimpressive, as he only made a measly thirty-three metres with the ball in hand.
On the back of their third straight victory, the Raiders are continuing to defy critics, and if Saturdays victory is anything to go by, they look bound for a top 8 finish in 2015.