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2021 NRL Round One, Raiders 30 Tigers 12 – Report

Andrew Pelechaty reviews the Raiders Viking Clapping their way back to Bruce to face the Tigers. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Raiders 30

Tries: Jordan Rapana (35, 75), Ryan James (41), Hudson Young (54), Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (67)

Goals: George Williams (36, 42, 48 – penalty, 56, 75)

Tigers 12

Tries: Jacob Liddle (25), Nofoaluma (72)

Goals: Luke Brooks (27, 73)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – George Williams (Raiders)
2 pts – Jordan Rapana (Raiders)
1 pt – Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Raiders)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

Even before a ball was kicked, the Raiders ensured their fans would be happy by wearing the glorious 1994 heritage jerseys: the same ones that Raiders fans had snapped up during the off-season so much that it had sold out twice. People power had spoken.

Despite the goodwill, the Tigers had the first scoring chance, but Daine Laurie knocked on. He redeemed himself a few minutes later as he defused a George Williams grubber following Canberra’s first real attacking chance.

Canberra appeared to be the first to score though Sebastian Kris, who backed up his early break to receive the Elliot Whitehead offload. However, the Bunker’s post-try review picked up a Whitehead knock-on.

The Tigers made a huge error when Luke Brooks kicked out on the full, gifting Canberra prime attacking field position. However, Canberra couldn’t captialise and the Tigers got a reprieve with a penalty.

While the game was played at a fast pace, both sides coughed the ball up regularly, a sure sign of round one rust.

There was big blow for the Tigers, with captain James Tamou copping the shoulder of BJ Leilua in the head and leaving the field.

Despite this, the Tigers were first to score after 25 minutes, with Luke Brooks stepping and offloading to Jacob Liddle. Brooks converted to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead. It continued Canberra’s nasty 2020 habit of conceding the first try.

Another promising Raiders attacking raid was defused by a Kris forward pass: again the Raiders struggled to make the most of their chances.

Jordan Rapana finally scored Canberra’s first try in the 35th minute, with George Williams’ grubber being deflected and Rapana winning the race. Williams (taking over the goalkicking duties from the injured Jarrod Croker) kicked the conversion to level it up 6-6.

After dominating possession and field position, Canberra should have led comfortably: instead they’d have to be content with a 6-6 halftime score.

HALF-TIME: Canberra Raiders 6 Wests Tigers 6

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2nd Half

Canberra got an early penalty as Jack Wighton was interfered with by Luke Garner after a kick; then Ryan James (coming back after a couple of knee reconstructions) scored in the next set to put his first club in front.

The momentum shifted further to Canberra when Brooks out the kick out on the full.

Ryan Sutton nearly scored off the next set, finishing inches from the line. It didn’t matter, as James Roberts knocked on for the Tigers from a Leilua pass.

More pressure was piled on as Canberra earned a goal-line drop-out on the next set, followed by another penalty close to the line. Williams slotted the penalty goal for a 14-6 lead. After a tough first half, the game have turned towards Canberra in just 10 minutes.

Williams seemed to increase Canberra’s lead when he picked up a loose ball and ran 70 metres: however, it was taken off him with Ryan Sutton ruled to have interfered in the lead-up. It was another example of the new Bunker rule at work. It’s a welcome change, as it allows the try to be awarded before being reviewed and ensures the game will flow better.

It didn’t matter, with Hudson Young scoring after Bailey Simonsson caught a comb Williams bomb and passed to Young. Williams kicked his fourth goal to stretch Canberra’s lead to 20-6.

The Tigers successfully Captains Challenged an knock-on ruling, with Josh Hodgson deemed to has interfered. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad saved the attacking grubber kick from Laurie, but a Tigers knock-on on the next set meant the pressure came to nothing.

CNK all but sealed the game a few minutes later as the Tigers went on a left-had raid. Curtis Scott (begging his redemption journey after a nightmare 2020) picked up a loose pass and give it to CNK, who ran 50 meters to score.

The Tigers got a much-needed try, with a nice flick pass from Roberts to David Nofoaluma. Brooks kicked the difficult conversion to cut the margin to 24-12 with six minutes left.

Rapana put the game away with his second try, after some great work from Joseph Tapine.

The game finished bizarrely with Josh Papalii sin-binned on full time, though it didn’t dampen the good mood at GIO Stadium.

While Canberra had a wasteful first half, they looked switched on from the outset of the second half and their class shown through. The Tigers were competitive in the first half, but couldn’t contain Canberra when it mattered. It was a good day for Raiders fans overall (and some welcome good fortune for Canberra sporting fans in general after the Brumbies’ last-gasp Super Rugby AU loss to the Reds last night), with the Raiders’ NSW Cup team comfortably beating the Western Suburbs Magpies.

FULL-TIME: Canberra Raiders 30 Wests Tigers 12

Injuries

to be advised

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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