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Andrew Pelechaty reviews the New Zealand Warriors’ home (away from home) game against Canberra on the Gold Coast. Here’s how the game went.

MATCH TIMELINE

Minute Scoring Play Score
21st Try Elliot Whitehead (Canberra) Canberra 4-0
22nd Goal Jarrod Croker (Canberra) Canberra 6-0
43rd Try Iosia Soloiola (Canberra) Canberra 10-0
44th Goal Jarrod Croker (Canberra) Canberra 12-0
46th Try Bailey Simonsson (Canberra) Canberra 16-0
74th Penalty Try Kodi Nikorima (Warriors) Canberra 16-4
75th Goal Chanel Harris-Tavita (Warriors) Canberra 16-6
79th Try Curtis Scott (Canberra) Canberra 20-6

MATCH SUMMARY

1st Half

A hot Saturday afternoon on the Gold Coast, and the lack of crowd atmosphere, contributed to a scrappy first half. The Warriors dominated possession (56% to 44%), and completed 16 of 21 sets to Canberra’s 11 of 18; Canberra worked harder than expected in defence, making 179 tackles to the Warriors’ 130.

The Warriors had an early try taken away, with Jarrod Croker tackled in the air. Neither team was able to assert their dominance as the errors came. While the Warriors had plenty of chances to score, Corey Horsburgh stopped their one genuine chance by holding Eliesa Katoa up.

Elliott Whitehead scored the first half’s only try in the 21st minute, taking a beautiful inside ball from Croker. Canberra’s other chance came from a Nick Cotric break from outside his own 20, but he lost the ball in the tackle.

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2nd Half

Canberra broke the game open early in the second half, scoring two tries.

The first was to Iosia Solioa three minutes in, scoring after a beautiful (almost Alfie-like) grubber from Josh Hodgson close to the line. Three minutes later, Bailey Simmonson scored in the left-hand corner after some brilliant ad-lib footy from Canberra.

The game petered out from there, with Nick Cotric denied two tries from forward passes. With six minutes left, the Warriors finally scored their first points of the season, with a penalty try to Kodi Nikorima after being held back by George Williams. The Warriors unsuccessfully used a Captain’s Challenge for an Adam Keighran knock on, hoping to have it overturned. Canberra’s Michael Oldfield came on late in the second half, celebrating his 50th NRL game across five clubs (Manly-Warringah, Sydney Roosters, South Sydney, Penrith, and the Raiders).

With a minute left, Curtis Scott scored his first Raiders try, following a lovely right foot stab kick from Williams, taking advantage of struggling Warriors defence. It was a satisfying try considering Scott’s off-field issues.

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Celebrating the 30th anniversary of their 1990 premiership, Canberra are temporarily leading the comp after winning their opening two games. They also won their opening two games in 1990. Is it an eerie omen, or a simple coincidence?

The Warriors, no doubt exhausted after an emotional week, lost no friends in this game. It doesn’t get any easier for them, travelling to Brookavale Oval to play Manly next Friday night. Canberra have a short-ish turnaround, playing St George-Illawarra in Canberra next Thursday night. The question is, will there be a virtual Viking Clap?

GAME HIGHLIGHT

Canberra put the game away early in second half, highlighted by an amazing try to Bailey Simonsson. Leading 12-0 after an early Iosia Solia try, Canberra punished the Warriors after an Adam Blair knock on in prime attacking territory. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad ran over 70 meters before the Raiders shifted left on the next tackle against a shot Warriors’ defence, with Simonsson scoring in the left hand corner after a beautful, defense-drawing delayed final pass from Jarrod Croker. It was a brilliant passage of ad-lib footy from Canberra.

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SQUADS

New Zealand Warriors: 1.Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2.Adam Pompey, 3.David Fusitu’a, 4.Adam Keighran, 5.Ken Maumalo, 6.Chanel Harris-Tavita, 7.Blake Green, 8.Leeson Ah Mau, 9.Wayde Egan, 10.Lachlan Burr, 11.Eliesa Katoa, 12.Tohu Harris, 13.Adam Blair. Interchange: 14.Kodi Nikorima, 15.Jamayne Taunoa-Brown,16.Isaiah Papali’i,17.King Vuniyayawa.

Canberra Raiders: 1.Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2.Bailey Simonsson, 3.Jarrod Croker, 4.Curtis Scott, 5.Nick Cotric, 6.Jack Wighton, 7.George Williams, 8.Josh Papalii, 9.Josh Hodgson, 10.Dunamis Lui, 11.Joseph Tapine, 12.Elliott Whitehead, 13.Corey Horsburgh. Interchange: 14.Siliva Havili, 15.Emre Guler, 16.Iosia Soloiola, 17.Michael Oldfield.

 

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