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2021 NRL Round Three, Raiders 31 Warriors 34 – Report

Brad Inger reviews the Raiders v Warriors game at GIO Stadium. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Raiders 31

Tries: Jack Wighton (15), Ryan Sutton (23), Iosia Soliola (29), George Williams (31), Elliott Whitehead (47),

Goals: Jarrod Croker (16, 23, 30, 32, 47)

Field Goals: George Williams (39)

Warriors 34

Tries: Addin Fonua-Blake (7), Kodi Nikorima (42), Bayley Sironen (51), Ben Murdoch-Masila (59), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (68), Adam Pompey (76),

Goals: Kodi Nikorima (7, 51, 60, 69, 79)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors)
2 pts – Kodi Nikorima (Warriors)
1 pt – Ryan Sutton (Raiders)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

The Warriors had the first attacking opportunity when George Williams allowed the kick-off to bounce over the dead-ball line. Raiders fan’s breathed a sigh of relief as the Jazz Tevaga lost possession in a tackle. The Raiders surged up the paddock with relative ease with the ball in hand and came agonizingly close to scoring first when Sebastian Kris snatched a bomb out of the air but was stopped inches from the line by a last-minute tackle from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. The New Zealand sides much talked about forward pack sprung into action charging up the field. After a repeat set, the Warriors were the first to score when marque signing Addin Fonua-Blake crossed almost untouched after a short ball from Sean O’Sullivan. Energised from scoring, the Warriors found themselves back in the Raiders red zone on the very next set putting in a grubber that was defused by Jordan Rapana. During the next few sets, there were huge concerns for Canberra with Joseph Tapine rolling his ankle and Ryan James and Kris clashing heads in a tackle that saw them both leave the field. Despite the setback, the Raiders levelled the scores when Jack Wighton fended off Kodi Nikorima to score. This saw the momentum shift with Canberra’s faster ruck speed, causing plenty of headaches for the New Zealand side, with the Raiders scoring back to back tries through Ryan Sutton and Iosia Soliola to push their lead out to 18-6. The Warriors added to their woes after kicking the ball out of the full, with the penalty the Raiders little time and crossed for their fourth try moments later via George Williams. The Warriors managed to stop the scoring rampage and started to show glimpses of the attack that they started the match with when Ben Murdoch-Masila came close to crashing over. However, the Raiders had the last laugh, with Williams slotting a field goal in the final seconds of the half to send his side into the sheds with a substantial lead.

HALF-TIME: Canberra Raiders 25 – New Zealand Warriors 6

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2nd Half

The Warriors started the second half with intent, with Nikorima carving up the Canberra defensive line with a nice solo run which saw him turn Curtis Scott inside out to score the first try of the second half. However, just like the first half, the Raiders wasted little time striking back when Elliott Whitehead threw a nice cutout pass to Rapana, who then chipped the ball towards the Warriors line, with Whitehead beating all the chasers to dive on the ball. The Warriors didn’t drop their heads, and another barnstorming run from Murdoch-Masila saw the Warriors right back on the attack. Two tackles later, Bayley Sironen crashed over to reduce Canberra’s lead. The Warriors stayed on the hunt, eager to make the most of the tiring Raiders side but were their own worst enemies making silly errors. Nikorima made another run after spotting a hole in the Raiders edge defence before passing to Murdoch-Masila for a try that I’m sure will be discussed at length after the match as it looked like it travelled forward. The fatigue was clearly becoming a concern as the Warriors kept the pressure on and scored their third try in a row, with Tuivasa-Sheck picking up a Tohu Harris offload to put the Warriors in prime position for a comeback victory as the game entered the final ten minutes. A fantastic defensive display from Bailey Simonsson saw Adam Pompey lose possession in the tackle to give the Raiders a chance to catch a breath. Canberra’s defence was on full display moments later when they forced David Fusitu’a back over the Warriors goal line. The Warriors attempted a short drop out and looked to have turned Simonsson from hero to villain when he caught the dropout and threw it over the sideline. The Raiders used their Captains Challenge successfully when the Bunker ruled that Simonsson was tackled in the air. The New Zealand side managed to withstand the Raiders attack and surged up the field, breaking the hearts of the crowd in attendance when Pompey made up for his earlier error when he scored in the corner to had the Warriors the lead for the first time in the match. The Raiders, to their credit, kept fighting and after looked to have possibly scored through Rapana in the dying seconds, but Tuivasa-Sheck managed yet another try-saving tackle to hand the Warriors the upset victory.

FULL-TIME: Canberra Raiders 31 – New Zealand Warriors 34

Injuries

Joseph Tapine (Raiders) – ankle
Curtis Scott (Raiders) – ribs
Ryan James (Raiders) – failed HIA test
Sebastian Kris (Raiders) – failed HIA test

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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