The Green Machine’s engine sees them home
The conditions were tough in Canberra on a hot Saturday afternoon, and the Raiders’ forward pack stood up to the task and dug in to get the victory. Josh Hodgson put in an 80 minute shift at both hooker and halfback, and Shaun Fensom’s last minute try rounded off a great game for the number 13. He scooped up a loose ball in his own half to start a break up the field, and a couple of tackles later showed great determination to charge his way over in the corner and seal the victory.
Sezer is a catch
In Adan Sezer, Ricky Stuart looks to have found the missing piece in his puzzle. On debut he grabbed a brace of tries and took control in the second half when his halfback partner was forced off due to injury. His kicking game could be vital to their top eight chances this year, and he also showed that he has a lot to offer with the ball in hand too.
There were also debut tries for Trent Merrin and Peta Hiku, however it was bittersweet for the losing Panthers pair.
Early injury woes
Blake Austin was the best player on the field in the first 40, as he directed his side around the park and even found his way over for a try. He showed early signs of his 2015 form and shrugged off suggestions that it was a one-off season, so when he hobbled off the field in the opening stages of the second half it was a huge blow.
James Segeyaro was having a busy afternoon too, and was providing some well needed resistance in the middle of the field for the Panthers. He came off mid-way through the second half with a broken arm, with Penrith also devastated by an injury to a key player.
Two over four?
Both sides turned down chances to pile on the pressure when awarded a penalty close to their opponent’s line and instead opted to take the two, with Jarrod Croker and Jamie Soward knocking over two penalty goals each. The Raiders’ decision to extend their lead to four points late in the game almost cost them, but Edrick Lee came up with a great tackle to force a knock on which led to Fensom’s try.
IN THE SHEDS
Blake Austin: He left the field early in the second half with medial ligament damage and could be looking at a six week lay-off.
James Segeyaro: Not long after Austin departed, the Panther’s number nine was forced off with a broken arm and will be a big loss over the coming weeks.
Canberra Raiders 30
Tries: Lee (9), Austin (18), Sezer (26, 55), Fensom (80)
Goals: Croker 5/7
Penrith Panthers 22
Tries: Merrin (22), Hiku (37), Mansour (45)
Goals: Soward 5/5