Canberra Raiders have recorded their third win of the season in defeating North Queensland Cowboys 18-8 at 1300 Smiles Stadium on Saturday.
In dry conditions North Queensland were able to post first points as Johnathan Thurston’s short ball put Gavin Cooper over. Some lazy Cowboys goal-line defence saw the visitors draw level through Josh Papalii. Thurston’s penalty goal early in the second half gave the Cowboys a slender lead. Despite being two points behind the Raiders controlled the first twenty-five minutes of the final forty with mistake free football. Tries to Aidan Sezer and Siliva Havili gave the Raiders a commanding and match winning 18-8 lead.
THE DROUGHT IS BROKEN
It’s been twelve years since Canberra Raiders tasted victory in Townsville and it was a night to remember. After errors riddled their first half performance, they were the more composed of the two sides in the second. Canberra also grew in confidence as the match went on, which is a good sign ahead of games against the Sharks and Dragons in the next three weeks. With only 44% of possession, they made the most of their chances putting on two second half tries to get a much-needed two points.
RAPANA RETURNS TO HIS BEST
Jordan Rapana had an outstanding match for the Raiders. When Rapana was at his best in 2017 we saw the Raiders motoring along towards the finals series. As both teams started to tired in the second half, Rapana was leading from the front making some excellent metres with the ball and getting the Raiders out of trouble. This in turn inspired young gun Nick Cotric into another impressive outing. It won’t be long until he adds to his two tries already scored in 2018.
Canberra were able to adjust their defence after Gavin Cooper’s fifteenth minute try to shut down the Cowboys in attack. They were able to predict Johnathan Thurston’s short ball with ease and put the great Australian halfback under pressure time after time. The monotony of their game plan was broken late in the second half when Lachlan Coote was taken off and Michael Morgan played from the back. This had some success with Morgan running good lines and giving the Raiders defence a little pressure. The current Cowboys game plan won’t trouble too many sides.
NO TRY OVERTURNED
Siliva Havili was the recipient of a rare ‘no try’ overrule which sealed the Raiders victory with five minutes to go. With a lot of bodies around the ball there was only a fraction of footage which showed Havili grounding the ball. What didn’t feel conclusive is whether on the way to grounding the ball if the ball was lost into a Cowboys player. It felt like “benefit of the doubt” was given, which isn’t the problem. The problem is that this should be applied to other referrals.
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS 8
Tries: Gavin Cooper
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 2
Drop Goals: n/a
CANBERRA RAIDERS 18
Tries: Josh Papalii, Aidan Sezer, Siliva Havili
Goals: Jarrod Croker 3
Drop Goals: n/a
North Queensland Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Ben Hampton, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 Matthew Scott (c), 9 Jake Granville, 10 Scott Bolton, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14 Te Maire Martin, 15 Shaun Fensom, 16 Corey Jensen, 17 Ethan Lowe
Canberra Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Iosia Soliola, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Junior Paulo, 11 Joseph Tapine, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Josh Papalii. Interchange: 14 Ata Hingano, 15 Shannon Boyd, 16 Luke Bateman, 17 Dunamis Lui