This was a game that was a gifted pair of points for the Raiders due to the impacts of State of Origin. It is sad that a two sides in the top eight are not at full strength to make a contest of it, but with the desperation of maintaining the Wednesday match we will always see some sides impacted more greatly than others. To make the Cowboys have to face up to a full strength Canberra in that Icebound soulless void is pointless and next year, when it will happen again, they should send a full trials side, just to get some experience.
Jack Wighton should always get wrapped up
His two tries came from his strength and ability to reach out to the line. On both tries the defence went low and failed to prevent this, making the Cowboys job a whole lot harder. The players missing tonight would not have fallen for this twice.
Nice return home for Josh Chudleigh
A local lad with his family in the crowd scooted through and scored a classic hookers try from 23 metres out. No doubt, like all hookers, by the time he retires it would be from his own try line and after going through or over every Canberra player. Well done. Coen Hess also scored with a casual highball take from a clever kick and his eighty-minute effort was definitely a highlight.
Will Canberra be happy with this Victory
With a huge slice of the Cowboys salary cap sitting in a resort near Sanctuary Cove, the Raiders were expected to win. Aided by a favourable penalty count and a high number of missed tackles, to come away with only a fourteen-point win may not provide the cheer that this contest would normally reflect. The Cowboys scrambled well and it took the Go-Go-Gadget Arms of Wighton and a favourable bounce from the building sized goal post pads to get three of their tries. A win is a win, but this was not convincing.
Missed tackles are a silent killer
The Cowboys missed 42 tackles, 25 more than the Raiders. The aftermath sometimes made worse by a penalty as they scrambled back to be on side. When you miss 25 you also have to make 25 more to kill the play and this extra effort was evident in the final try and the lack of energy left for them to successfully counter attack. The effort was there, but the fuel tanks were empty.
From the Sheds
Ben Hannant went off for a concussion that seemed to have taken out his shoulder. There could be more on that, but he will appreciate the weekend off. No sin bins or send offs and no reports during the game. Next weekend off for both teams.
Canberra Raiders 26
Tries: Wighton (2), Hodgson, Sezer.
Conversions/Penalties: Croker 3/4 & 2/2.
North Queensland Cowboys 12
Tries: Hess, Chudleigh.
Conversions: Lowe 2/2.