Canberra continued their traditional late finals charge, beating North Queensland 38-12 at GIO Stadium Canberra.
Canberra 4-0 Jordan Rapana try (3rd minute).
Canberra 8-0 Michael Oldfield try (11th minute).
Canberra 8-6 Lachlan Coote try (20th minute), Johnathan Thurston goal (22nd minute).
Canberra 14-6 Blake Austin try (32nd minute), Aiden Sezer goal (33rd minute).
Canberra 14-12 Gavin Cooper try (35th minute), Thurston goal (36th minute).
Canberra 20-12 Oldfield try (64th minute), Sezer goal (65th minute).
Canberra 26-12 Oldfield try (69th minute), Sezer goal (70th minute).
Canberra 32-12 Rapana try (72nd minute), Sezer goal (73rd minute).
Canberra 38-12 Sezer try (78th minute), Sezer goal (79th minute).
OLDFIELD HAT-TRICK KEEPS CANBERRA ALIVE
Three tries to Michael Oldfield gave Canberra a crucial Bruce Stadium win. Oldfield’s second and third tries – within five minutes of each other (the third try a 90-metre run off a scrum) – broke open a tense second half and kept them two wins behind sixth (Sydney Roosters), seventh (Brisbane) and eighth (NZ Warriors). Canberra’s +62 differential will help. The loss ended North Queensland’s faint finals hopes.
RAIDERS’ DEFENCE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Canberra have been rightly criticised this year for sacrificing big leads (consequently fighting for a finals place instead of being comfortably in the top eight). Infront 14-12 at halftime, Canberra kept the lead intact with some tenacious goal-line defence, before Oldfield’s second and third tries blew out the margin (perhaps unfairly for North Queensland, but Canberra fans weren’t complaining). If Canberra want to play beyond September, they need to keep this wonderful defence up.
AUSTIN POWERS ON, PAPALII BACKS UP
After Blake Austin’s game-winning burst last week, he made another immediate impact late in the first half. On at left centre for the injured Jarrod Croker after 30 minutes, Austin scored a couple minutes later, extending Canberra’s lead to 14-6. Josh Papalii, Canberra’s only Origin rep, was amazing; backing up after Queensland’s Origin III win Wednesday night, Papalii made 174 metres and 32 tackles.
Raiders fans were nervous when Croker went down early with an aggravated knee injury. Luckily for Canberra, Croker recovered and set up the Raiders’ second try (to Oldfield), though he gave up kicking duties to Sezer. The knee injury re-occured in the 30th minute, with Croker leaving the field for the night. If he doesn’t recover quickly, it’ll be a huge blow for Canberra.
Tries: Michael Oldfield 3, Jordan Rapana 2, Blake Austin, Aiden Sezer
Goals: Jarrod Croker 0/1, Sezer 5/6
Drop Goals: N/A
NORTH QUEENSLAND 12
Tries: Lachlan Coote, Gavin Cooper
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 2/2
Drop Goals: N/A
Canberra Raiders: 1 Nick Cotric, 2 Michael Oldfield, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Sam Williams, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Dunamis Lui, 9 Josh Hodgson, 10 Junior Paulo, 17 Iosia Soliola 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Josh Papalii
Interchange: 14 Blake Austin, 15 Luke Bateman, 16 Siliva Havili, 18 Liam Knight
North Queensland Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Enari Tuala, 4 Kane Linnett, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Te Maire Martin, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 John Asiata, 9 Jake Granville, 10 Scott Bolton, 11 Gavin Cooper, 16 Shane Wright, 13 Jason Taumalolo
Interchange: 12 Coen Hess, 14 Ben Hampton, 15 Shaun Fensom, 17 Corey Jensen