Canberra Raiders 34
Tries: Waqa 2, Fensom, Papalii, Austin, Cornish
Goals: Croker 5/6
Field goals: 0
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 41
Tries: Reynolds 2, Lichaa, Rona, Pritchard, Thompson, Mbye
Goals: Mbye 6/8
Field goals: Reynolds 1
A chilly afternoon at GIO Stadium in Canberra didn’t stop the Bulldogs from coming in red hot against the Raiders in a fast paced match that saw 75 points scored between the two teams.
It only took two minutes into the game for the Bulldogs to start their fifteen minute rampage on the home side. Michael Lichaa goes in for the first try after a Josh Reynolds pass was knocked around and scooped up by Frank Pritchard to send the young hooker over. Moses Mbye converts the try putting his team in front 6-nil.
Less than a minute later Curtis Rona, playing unaccustomed in the centres, scores off a Tony Williams pass, with Mbye again converting. In the 8th minute Reynolds crosses over after a one on one strip by Mbye earlier in the set. Mbye converts, pushing the lead out to 18-nil. Not long after, the Bulldogs halves were at it again after Canberra’s Blake Austin strips the ball from Pritchard and Mbye picks it up and passes to Reynolds to score his second try of the day. Conversion successful by Mbye putting the Bulldogs in what seemed to be a comfortable lead at 24-nil. The Raiders punch the ball out of an attempted play the ball and Mbye successfully takes the two, 26-nil.
In the 21st minute Reynolds is placed on report for getting in Jarrod Croker’s way as he attempted to catch a bomb. Soon after, the Bulldogs look to continue their onslaught of points however their try was disallowed for a forward pass. In the 31st minute Sisa Waqa, playing at fullback after Jordan Rapana is taken off injured, crosses over in the corner for the Raiders’ first try, but Croker was unable to convert.
With five minutes left of the first half, the dominating Dogs begin to fall back into bad habits allowing the Raiders to score twice. The first being a lucky bounce picked up by Shaun Fensom to score and the second being a cross field kick from Austin sending Josh Papalii over the line. Both were converted by Croker, tightening the score to 26-16 at half time.
Ten minutes into the second half Austin attempts to cross the line but is held up. A minute later he runs at the line again, this time coming out successful and scores the first points of the second half. Croker converts cutting down what seemed to be a huge a Bulldogs lead to only four points between the two sides. Not long after, Lichaa runs from dummy half before passing to Pritchard who scores the Bulldogs’ first points since the 16th minute. Mbye was unable to convert, 30-22.
In the 59th minute, Josh Hodgson kicks from dummy half and Mitchell Cornish scores despite looking to be off side. Croker converts, again tightening the score to 30-28. Three minutes later, the Bulldogs stretch their lead out once again and Corey Thompson crosses the line in the right-hand corner, scoring the 80,000th try in NRL history. Mbye’s conversion was waved away, 34-28.
The next ten minutes saw two unlucky tackles resulting in four players leaving the field, two from either side. In the 73rd minute, Waqa throws a dummy and pushes off tired Bulldogs defence to score in the left-hand corner. Croker converts to tie up the score to 34-all to make the next seven minutes even more exciting.
After an unsuccessful attempt at a field goal by Austin, Reynolds pulls out a wonky looking, yet successful field goal with 30 seconds left on the clock. In a final attempt by the Raiders, a short kick off falls into the hands of Pritchard and is then passed to Mbye who runs away with the winning play to score and convert his own try, wrapping the game up at 41-34.