Brad Inger reviews the Canberra Raider’s clash with the New Zealand Warriors. Here’s how the match went.
|9th||Try Peta Hiku (Warriors)||Warriors 4-0|
|10th||Goal Chanel Harris-Tavita (Warriors)||Warriors 6-0|
|14th||Try Jarrod Croker (Raiders)||Warriors 6-4|
|15th||Goal Jarrod Croker (Raiders)||6 All|
|19th||Goal Chanel Harris-Tavita (Warriors)||Warriors 8-6|
|24th||Goal Chanel Harris-Tavita (Warriors)||Warriors 10-6|
|28th||Sin Bin Jack Wighton (Raiders)|
|28th||Try Peta Hiku (Warriors)||Warriors 14-6|
|32nd||Try Semi Valemai (Raiders)||Warriors 14-10|
|37th||Try Hudson Young (Raiders)||14 All|
|39th||Goal Jarrod Croker (Raiders)||16-14 Raiders|
|50th||Try Semi Valemai (Raiders)||20-14 Raiders|
|53rd||Goal Jarrod Croker (Raiders)||22-14 Raiders|
|72nd||Try Nick Cotric (Warriors)||16-14 Raiders|
Looking for a top-four finish, the Canberra Raiders displayed a desire to play attacking football in the early stages of the match, electing to run the ball on the last tackle when they were in the Warriors half but were unable to create the opportunity needed to get on the scoreboard. However, it was the New Zealand Side that that looked more threatening with the ball in hand and had the first honours when Peta Hiku grounded a Kodi Nikorima grubber for the first points of the day. Canberra bounced back and after gaining a penalty on the return set, found themselves deep in the Warriors half and took little time level the scores when Jarrod Croker crashed over on the left edge. A reshuffle was required for the Raiders as George Williams was ruled out of the match after failing his HIA test after a head knock. After a crusher tackle penalty, the Warriors elected to take the penalty kick and regained a two-point lead. Moments later Harris-Tavita slotted another penalty goal after the Warriors were awarded another penalty after a skirmish that started in a scrum. The Raiders discipline continued to hurt them as Jack Wighton was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul, the New Zealand side made easy work of Raiders goal-line defence when Hiku went over for his second try after a nice short ball from Nikorima. The Warriors looked to have the Raiders on the ropes and were once again attacking the Raiders goal line, but a wayward offload went to ground and was scooped up by Semi Valemai who ran the length of the field to score a much-needed try. A few sets later, the Raiders took the lead for the first time in the match after a nice kick from Elliot Whitehead ended up in the hands of Hudson Young to cross untouched. A knock-on from Wighton on the next kickoff gave the Warriors a chance to take back the lead with a minute to go, but it wasn’t to be as the Raiders held onto their 16-14 lead as both sides went into the sheds.
After a shaky start to the second half, with both sides failing to complete their sets, The Warriors had the lion share of the ball and territory. However, the Raiders defence was strong and forced an error from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck who threw an offload to Whitehead who scorched up the field. Some scrambling Warriors defence stopped him, but the Raiders kept the pressure on and went wide to Valemai who was too strong for Hiku as he barged over for his second try of the match. It was the Warriors turn to let themselves down with poor discipline as they gave away a penalty which Crocker easily kicked to push the Raiders lead out to 8 points. Both sides gave themselves chances to score but lacked the final polish as they traded sets, a reported hamstring injury to Tuivasa-Sheck, which appears to have ended the New Zealand skippers season saw the Warriors also forced to reshuffle their backline. Canberra continued to pile on the pressure, and after 20 minutes of solid defence, the Warriors defensive line finally cracked as Jordan Rapana broke through and executed an excellent draw and pass which saw Nick Cotric go over in the corner. The final stages of the match saw the Warriors attempt to reduce the margin but lacked the spark needed to break through Canberra’s renowned final quarter defence. Fans of the Warriors may dispute a late-game penalty against Adam Pompey who looked to be competing in the air with Croker but was ruled to have tackled the Canberra skipper in the air. Regardless of which stance you take on that call if did not affect the result as the Raiders, after an early scare cruised home with a 26-14 victory, keeping their top-four aspirations alive.
My moment of the match was Semi Valemai’s length of the field try, and Hudson youngs try moments later. At that point in the first half, the Raiders looked to be in trouble against a Warriors side with nothing but pride to play for. If the New Zealand side had managed to score there instead of letting in back to back tries, well then this match report could have told a different story. A tough result for the Warriors who have been a great story this season but the Raiders survived the early onslaught and the loss of one of their playmakers and showed their grit in a tough second half to get the much-needed win. Ricky Stuart is going to need to ensure that his side works on their discipline when the playoffs start if they want to go the distance.
Canberra Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Semi Valemai, 3. Jarrod Croker, 4. Jordan Rapana, 5. Nick Cotric, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. George Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Siliva Havili, 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Joseph Tapine, 14. Tom Starling, 15. Ryan Sutton, 16. Hudson Young, 17. Corey Harawira-Naera
New Zealand Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. Adam Pompey, 3. Adam Keighran, 4. Peta Hiku, 5. Hayze Perham, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 8. Lachlan Burr, 9. Karl Lawton, 12. Tohu Harris, 10. Isaiah Papali’i, 11. Jack Murchie, 13. Jazz Tevaga, 14. Wayde Egan, 15. Adam Blair, 17. Tom Ale, 18. Josh Curran