The Canberra Raiders have piled more misery on the Canterbury Bulldogs with a gutsy 12-10 victory.
The Canberra Raiders headed into this clash with a host of changes after injury and State of Origin selections wiped out six starting players. The Canterbury Bulldogs would have been confident facing a depleted Raiders side with the focus of moving off the bottom of the competition table. The first 15 minutes was an arm-wrestle, the Bulldogs made some great field territory but failed to capitalise making plenty of errors in the process. Canberra drew first blood after a lovely cross field kick from Sam Williams found winger Michael Oldfield who tapped it back to Sebastian Kris who crossed for his first NRL try. Canberra were hungry for more, the set after points Siliva Havili found himself in space, he linked up with returning Englishman John Bateman, who did his best soccer impersonation to score a wonderful try in the corner, Jarrod Croker would miss the kick but the Raiders lead 10-0 at the half.
With it all to play for in the second half, the Bulldogs wanted to give their fans something to cheer about and 58 minutes in, halfback Jack Cogger scored a close range try, not long after Marcelo Montoya scored and with Rhyse Martin successfully converting one of two conversions, it was tie game heading into the final 15 minutes of play. Bulldogs second rower Adam Elliot ripped the ball in a tackle, Canberra were awarded a penalty from right in front of the Bulldogs try-line and Croker decided to take the two for the lead. Canberra fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad almost sealed the game for the Raiders with three minutes to play but was sensationally chased down by Suaso Sue, this gave the Bulldogs one more chance. In that set, Montoya ran down the sideline and looked likely to score before Nicoll-Klokstad made a game-winning tackle for the Raiders to hang on.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad… the man is a national treasure in the Capital! The Raiders signed this unproven outside back in early February and he has taken his opportunity with both hands, Nicoll-Klokstad clocked a whopping 292 metres, he did not make a single error and made the game-winning tackle. The fullback has been a revelation since arriving from the New Zealand Warriors and is looking certain to challenge for a Dally M team of the year spot.
The Raiders had a host of stars out, six starters to be exact, this was enough to suggest the Bulldogs would pick up two points. In saying that, they strangely dropped Corey Hawera-Naira before kick-off and looked never likely to win the game despite it being a close game, they were out-hustled by a determined Green Machine outfit and made too many errors when they had momentum.
Down But Not Out
As mentioned previously, Canberra were without six starters due to injury and Origin. Missing two members of their spine in Jack Wighton and Josh Hodgson, it was always going to be tough… missing John Bateman for a number of weeks, the Bradford native was a late inclusion to help a depleted Raiders side towards a tough victory. Things won’t get easier with Hudson Young suspended for an eye-gouge and Corey Horsburgh missing for 2-3 weeks with a fractured elbow.
Wooden Spoon Looming?
Canterbury have been so poor this season, they have scored the least points and have conceded the most in the process. The numbers are not for good reading if you’re a Bulldogs fan and it does not get any easier with a tough draw for the remainder of the season, it may spell a wooden spoon heading in the direction of Belmore, things must change soon if they are to avoid the spoon in 2019.
Canterbury Bulldogs 10
Tries: Jack Cogger, Marcelo Montoya
Goals: Rhyse Martin 1/2
Canberra Raiders 12
Tries: Sebastian Kris, John Bateman
Goals: Jarrod Croker 2/3
Canterbury Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Christian Crichton 3. Marcelo Montoya 4. Will Hopoate 5. Reimis Smith 6. Kieran Foran 7. Jack Cogger 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Ofahiki Ogden 11. Josh Jackson 23. Adam Elliott15. Raymond Faitala-Mariner Interchange: 13. Chris Smith 14. Rhyse Martin 16. Danny Fualalo 17. Sauaso Sue
Canberra Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Michael Oldfield 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Sam Williams 8. Corey Horsburgh 9. Siliva Havili 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Joe Tapine 12. Elliott Whitehead 21. John Bateman Interchange: 13. Hudson Young 14. Tom Starling 16. Sia Soliola 17. Ryan Sutton