Mitch Bourke reviews Canberra’s come-from-behind win over Canterbury-Bankstown. Here’s how the game went.
|9th||Try Dallin Watene-Zalezniak (Bulldogs)||Bulldogs 4-0|
|10th||Goal Nick Meaney (Bulldogs)||Bulldogs 6-0|
|15th||Try Joseph Tapine (Raiders)||Bulldogs 6-4|
|16th||Goal Jarrod Croker (Raiders)||Scores tied 6-6|
|17th||Try Tom Starling (Raiders)||Raiders 10-6|
|18th||Goal Jarrod Croker (Raiders)||Raiders 12-6|
|29th||Try Raymond Faitala-Mariner (Bulldogs)||Raiders 12-10|
|35th||Try Josh Jackson (Bulldogs)||Bulldogs 14-12|
|40th||Try Kerrod Holland (Bulldogs)||Bulldogs 18-12|
|40th||Conversion Nick Meaney (Bulldogs)||Bulldogs 20-12|
|44th||Tom Starling (Raiders) – SIN BIN||Bulldogs 20-12|
|48th||Try Jack Wighton (Raiders)||Bulldogs 20-16|
|50th||Goal Jarrod Croker (Raiders)||Bulldogs 20-18|
|54th||Try Jack Wighton (Raiders)||Raiders 22-20|
|59th||Try Hudson Young (Raiders)||Raiders 26-20|
|60th||Goal Jarrod Croker (Raiders)||Raiders 28-20|
|70th||Try Tom Starling (Raiders)||Raiders 32-20|
|71st||Goal Jarrod Croker (Raiders)||Raiders 34-20|
Canberra entered the game vying for a coveted top-four spot, while Canterbury entered the game vying to avoid the club’s sixth wooden spoon.
A dominant first-half display from the Bulldogs, where they had 61% of the territory, left them sitting pretty with a 20-12 lead at the interim.
Two Raiders tries in three minutes had Canberra in the box seat momentarily, but they shot themselves in the foot with an underwhelming 60% completion rate.
The tides turned quickly with half-time looming: Canterbury cashed in late to pile on the pain and leave a shock upset on the cards.
Lachlan Lewis gifted Dallin Watene-Zelezniak the opening try with a spectacular Sydney Harbour Bridge pass that had to be seen to be believed, the points credited to a great Bulldogs defensive push.
The Raiders didn’t waste time returning serve through Joseph Tapine, who muscled his way past four Bulldogs and the goalpost to level things up.
Tom Starling completed Canberra’s quick turnaround: what was a six-point deficit now a six-point lead courtesy of Will Hopoate’s high-ball fumble.
A 29th minute Raymond Faitala-Mariner’s try kickstarted Canterbury’s late resurgence.
Josh Jackson reclaimed the Bulldogs’ lead after a successful kick-chase from Kerrod Holland kept the ball alive, and Jackson slipped through the Raiders line to infiltrate their in-goal.
Holland had his fingerprints all over a nomadic after-the-siren try, closing out the first half.
Canberra rallied in the face of adversity as only Canberra do (with Tom Starling in the bin and Curtis Scott off the field injured). More specifically, Jack Wighton rallied.
The Bulldogs’ defence was no match for Wighton’s fast and fancy feet, which left the sides separated by two points.
Wighton added his second within minutes, working his magic close to the line and stiff-arming a helpless Lewis.
The Raiders completed their second half treble when Hudson Young bounced out of a tackle and burrowed his way to the stripe.
Canberra were merciless: Tom Starling exploding out of dummy half to earn his maiden double and put the result beyond doubt.
The first half and second half were two starkly different games. Canterbury was a forced to be reckoned with early, but found themselves replaced by a lethargic outfit that didn’t register a second half point.
The Raiders, on the other hand, went from 39% first-half territory to 67% in the second half. They also improved their completion rate by more than 20%, whilst the Bulldogs’ suffered an 18% decrease.
Kerrod Holland’s first-half try was ad-lib, nomadic, and downright outrageous. He got the ball he gave from Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, and when a path to the in-goal refused to reveal itself, he stabbed in a grubber of his own and chased it down to complete a worthy application for try of the year.
Canberra Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Jordan Rapana, 3. Jarrod Croker, 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Nick Cotric, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. George Williams, 16. Ryan Sutton, 14. Tom Starling, 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 15. Joseph Tapine. Interchange: 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Siliva Havili, 13. Hudson Young, 17. Matthew Timoko.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate, 2. Nick Meaney, 3. Marcelo Montoya, 4. Kerrod Holland, 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6. Kieran Foran, 7. Lachlan Lewis, 8. Ofahiki Ogden, 9. Jeremy Marshall-King, 10. Dylan Napa, 11. Josh Jackson, 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13. Aiden Tolman. Interchange: 14. Sione Katoa, 15. Renouf To’omaga, 16. Dean Britt, 17. Matt Doorey.