Andrew Pelechaty reviews the Canberra Raiders’ third win in Melbourne inside twelve months. Here’s how the game went.
|3rd||Try Jordan Rapana (Canberra)||Canberra 4-0|
|5th||Goal Jarrod Croker (Canberra)||Canberra 6-0|
|13th||Try Nick Cotric (Canberra)||Canberra 10-0|
|14th||Goal Jarrod Croker (Canberra)||Canberra 12-0|
|29th||Try Dale Finucane (Melbourne)||Canberra 12-4|
|31st||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Canberra 12-6|
|34th||Try Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Canberra)||Canberra 16-6|
|36th||Goal Jarrod Croker (Canberra)||Canberra 18-6|
|80th||Try Joseph Tapine (Canberra)||Canberra 22-6|
Jordan Rapana – lured back to Canberra after his Japanese Rugby stint was suspended – started in the number 18 jersey and scored the game’s first try. Taking advantage of a ‘six again’ call (how ironic for Raiders fans), he scored on the left hand side from a beautiful Jarrod Croker pass.
Nick Cotric scored 10 minutes later: the Raiders benefiting from another ‘six again’ call. George Williams stamped his authority on the game with a wonderful pass to Cotric. Croker converted for a 12-0 lead.
Ryan Papenhuyzen had a chance to put the Storm on the board, but knocked on over the line. It summed up an uncharacteristically sloppy first half from the Storm, making six errors and only completing 74% of possession.
The Storm slowly built pressure, and broke through with a Dale Finucane try in the 29th minute.
From there the Storm started to find momentum, with a couple of line breaks, but Canberra were the next to score, with Williams’ second try assist – this time to Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
Interestingly, the Storm have trailed at halftime in all three of their 2020 games.
While it was a scoreless second half until the final minute, it was far from boring.
The Storm had numerous attempts to bridge the 12-point deficit, but missed out through their own errors and Canberra’s tenacious defence. Nelson Asofa-Solomona also had a ridiculous brain snap, kicking on the third tackle with the Storm pressing Canberra’s line. He’ll hand in his Front Rowers’ membership card on Monday.
The Raiders’ defensive highlight came late in the half. The Storm were pushing the Raiders’ line and seemed certain to score through Justin Olam. Joseph Tapine held him up over the line to deny the try.
Tapine was rewarded for his defensive efforts by scoring the final try.
The Raiders left AAMI Park with some impressive records: winning their third straight game in Melbourne, keeping the opposition to just six points for the third game in the row, and earning their first 3-0 start since 2005. While their first two wins may have been relatively soft, Canberra showed they will again go deep this season with an excellent defensive display.
Fatigue hurt the Storm in the second half, and probably caused all their uncharacteristic errors.
Canberra’s win was not only a great way to celebrate Josh Papalii’s 200th NRL game, but was also a welcome bright spot after a distracting week.
Canberra’s one-two punch in the first 14 minutes shocked the Storm (and would have shocked the pro-Melbourne crowd if there was one) and set up the win. It started in the third minute with Jordan Rapana scoring on the left hand side. Ten minutes later, Nick Cotric scored, receiving a beautiful pass from George Williams, who easily had his best game in the lime green. Canberra took advantage of the new ‘six again’ rule to score the opening two tries. If any side will benefit from this rule, it’s Canberra. This could be just a teaser.
Melbourne Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Justin Olam 4. Marion Seve 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 16. Christian Welch 17. Max King,
Canberra Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 18. Jordan Rapana 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Curtis Scott 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Joseph Tapine 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Horsburgh. Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Emre Guler 16. Iosia Soliola 17. Michael Oldfield.