The Raiders came to Wollongong and got the win as the Green Machine advance to third place.
To finish round 17, the fourth-placed Canberra Raiders made the trip up to Wollongong to take on the fourteenth-placed St. George-Illawarra Dragons: an important fixture as the Dragons looked to keep their season alive and the Raiders hoped to continue their run to a top four spot.
The Dragons started the opening half with a lack of discipline, giving away multiple penalties which allowed Canberra to take a 2-0 lead after just five minutes. It only took a further five minutes for the Raiders to score the opening try as Nick Cotric scored after a good individual effort to beat a few defenders, finishing off a nice play on the right edge. The Raiders continued to dominate the opening half as Jarrod Croker scored in the 16th minute down the left edge with a great individual effort, however he couldn’t convert his own try. Midway through the opening half, Dragons front rower Jeremy Latimore went off with a knee injury that would leave them with 16 men. The Raiders continued to dominate but a couple of errors prevented the Green Machine from adding to the scoreboard. Canberra managed to score another with a few minutes left in the opening half, through Joseph Tapine, for a 16-0 lead at the break.
The halftime speech didn’t work for the Dragons as the Raiders scored two tries in the opening 10 minutes of the second half through Bailey Simonsson and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. They continued the trend of great individual efforts, extending the Raiders’ lead to 26-0. It took the Dragons 50 minutes, but they finally scored as Korbin Sims just threw himself over at the goal line defence. Corey Norman failed to kick it from right in front, hitting the post as they trailed 26-4. A second unanswered try came for the Dragons as five-eighth Corey Norman put Luciano Leilua through with a nice short flat ball to bring them within 16 points. All of a sudden the Dragons played with a lot more intensity. With 20 minutes left, Nick Cotric had a brain fade with a dangerous spear tackle on Tim Lafai and was sent off, leaving the Raiders with 12. This didn’t stop them as Siliva Havili made his way over the line thanks to some poor defence, extending Canberra’s lead to 32-10. Nicoll-Klokstad scored his second with 12 minutes left as the Raiders continued to dismantle the poor-performing Dragons. The match finished with a Dragons consolation try as Matt Dufty went 80 metres to score. It was a night to forget for Dragons fans as the Raiders won 36-14.
Jarrod Croker becomes the Raiders’ Leading All-Time Try Scorer
With Jarrod Croker’s first half try, he became the Canberra Raiders’ leading all-time tryscorer (121 tries), knocking off former premiership winner Jason Croker, who finished his career with 120 tries. The captain also become the youngest player (28 years, 291 days) to score 1,900 points in first grade.
Nick Cotric Sent Off
Centre Nick Cotric was the first player sent off this season for a dangerous spear tackle on opposition centre Tim Lafai. The young gun, who made his Origin debut early this season, will possibly be facing a suspension, preventing him from playing over the next couple of weeks.
Nicoll-Klokstad Continues to Fire
The fullback is in the middle of his first season at Canberra (after being picked up from the New Zealand Warriors) and has been an absolute find. The youngster continued his brilliant season as he scored a double tonight, including running for 218 run metres, making 7 tackle breaks and 2 line breaks. This signing has been huge for the Raiders as it’s allowed Jack Wighton to have one of his best seasons playing in his new five-eighth role.
Dragons’ Poor Form Continues
The Dragons’ poor form continues: they have now lost three of their last four matches. A win for the Dragons tonight would’ve moved them to a win outside the top eight, but that wasn’t to be as the Raiders dismantled them in front of their home crowd. This included conceding two tries to the 12-men Raiders in the last 20 minutes. The Dragons’ season is on its last legs – they will need to find some good form fast to keep it alive.
St. George-Illawarra Dragons 14
Tries: Korbin Sims, Luciano Leilua, Matt Dufty
Goals: Tim Lafai 2/2, Corey Norman 0/1
Drop Goals: n/a
Canberra Raiders 36
Tries: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (2), Nick Cotric, Jarrod Croker, Joseph Tapine, Baiey Simonsson, Siliva Havili
Goals: Jarrod Croker 4/8
Drop Goals: n/a
St. George-Illawarra Dragons: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Jonus Pearson 3. Euan Aitken 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 21. Ben Hunt 8. Jeremy Latimore 9. Cameron McInnes 22. Paul Vaughan 23. Tyson Frizzell 12. Tariq Sims 10. Blake Lawrie. Interchange: 11. Jacob Host 13. Luciano Leilua 14. Korbin Sims 15. Reece Robson
Canberra Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Nick Cotric 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Aidan Sezer 16. Iosia Soliola 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine. Interchange: 8. Josh Papalii 14. Siliva Havili 15. Corey Horsburgh 21. Emre Guler