The Canberra Raiders cemented their position in the top four with an emphatic 46-12 victory over a Warriors team now surely out of playoff contention.
After an Adam Blair knock-on in the first set of the match, it was one-way traffic as the Canberra Raiders dominated territory and possession. Jarrod Croker had two tries denied early on, but it did not slow the Raiders as they score their first try at the ten-minute mark via a rampaging run by Iosia Soliola, Jarrod Croker’s successful conversion gave the Raider the early 6-0 lead. Ten minutes later it was the Raiders other front-rower Josh Papalii crashing through some ordinary defence to score, Croker, nailed the conversion again. Michael Oldfield was next to add his name to the scoresheet when he pounced on a grubber. This was followed by tries to Bailey Simonsson and a try of the year contender from Joseph Tapine in quick succession, Croker’s conversion streak continued as he kicked all three conversions to give the Raiders a 30-0 lead going into the break.
An animated Stephen Kearney drilled the home side during the break and their effort in defence did appear to improve as they were able to stop the Raiders scoring rampage and were, in fact, the first team to score in the 53rd minute when rookie Chanel Harris-Tavita latched onto a Blake Ayshford offload scoring his first try in first grade, his conversion was successful and gave the home crowd a slim glimpse of hope. This was stomped out two minutes later when Simonsson strolled through four lacklustre Warriors defenders for his second try of the match. Croker’s streak ended as he missed the conversion with the Raiders firmly in the lead 34-6. Josh Hodgson was instrumental in the Raiders performance and was next to score pushing their lead out 40-6 after Croker’s conversion. The Warriors got their second try once again through Harris-Tavita, this time snatching a Blake Green offload, he converted his try once again making the score 40-12. The game appeared to be all over, but as the dejected Warriors fans filed out of the stadium Jack Wighton twisted the knife crossing for the Raiders eight and final try of the match in the 79th minute, the Raiders turned to the veteran Soliola for their last conversion and his successful attempt completed the Raider dominant display with a 46-12 result.
The Raiders continue to charge towards the 2019 playoffs in style. The Warriors offered little resistance, but Canberra fans will hope this form continues as their side faces the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters in the next two rounds in what will be match of the round clashes.
Where did the heart go?
The Warriors have shown tremendous heart for the last six rounds, but when they needed it most, it was nowhere to be found. They were found wanting on both attack and defence and left their home crowd with very little to smile about. Perhaps all the emotion during and after their controversial loss to the Eels in round 19 drained the Warriors mentally before this match even started?
Welcome return home for CNK
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad’s star continues to rise in his first match against his former club. Leading his side in running metres Charnze let the Warriors know what they let go with a strong performance, creating opportunities on attack and safe under the high ball, the Raiders have got a superstar on their hands.
Bring on 2020
The Warriors playoff chances were slim, but after this performance, they only have pride to play for in 2019. The question will be if Stephen Kearney changes his line up to prepare for 2020 or sticks with the current crop of players to see the last five rounds out. One thing is for sure; however, Chanel Harris-Tavita needs to be starting for the remainder of the season.
Canberra Raiders 46
Tries: Bailey Simonsson (2), Iosia Soliola, Josh Papalii, Michael Oldfield, Joseph Tapine, Josh Hodgson, Jack Wighton
Goals: Jarrod Croker 5/6, Iosia Soliola 1/1
New Zealand Warriors 12
Tries: Chanel Harris-Tavita (2)
Goals: Chanel Harris-Tavita 2/2
Canberra Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Bailey Simonsson, 3. Jarrod Croker, 4. Michael Oldfield, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Iosia Soliola, 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliot Whitehead, 13. Joseph Tapine, 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Emre Guler, 16. Corey Horsburgh, 17. Dunamis Lui
New Zealand Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. Gerard Beale, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Blake Ayshford, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Blake Green, 8. Agnatius Paasi, 13. Jazz Tevaga, 10. Leeson Ah Mau, 11. Adam Blair, 12. Isaiah Papali’i, 14. Lachlan Burr, 16. Bunty Afoa, 17. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 18. Karl Lawton, 20. Joshua Curran