Andrew Pelechaty reviews the second game of the Saturday night Kogarah double-header, with the Titans playing the Raiders. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Corey Thompson (37)
Tries: Jordan Rapana (5), Josh Papalii (49), Ryan Sutton (77)
Goals: Jarrod Croker (7, 26 – pen, 51, 78)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Canberra Raiders)
2 pts – Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Gold Coat Titans)
1 pt – Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Canberra were the first to score after five minutes: starting with a break from Elliot Whitehead off a George Williams ball, Jarrod Croker went down the sideline and flicked back into Jordan Rapana, who scored in the left corner; this time there was no last-ditch Roger Tuivasa-Sheck tackle to stop him. Croker converted to give Canberra 6-0 lead.
The Titans nearly struck back a few minutes later as Mitch Rein ran from dummy half, but dropped the ball just short of the line.
Referee Adam Gee was kept busy early, with six set restarts in the first 13 minutes. Would the game’s early pace impact either the Titans or Raiders later on?
The Titans had their chances, but good Raiders defence and the Titans’ poor handling hurt them. This game had parallels to the Raiders’ last game at Kogarah against the Sharks, where they dominated the early stages. The good news for the Milk: no major injuries in the first 20 minutes this week.
The Titans nearly scored in the right corner, with Jack Wighton stopping a leaping Anthony Don from touching down.
A “hands on the ball” penalty to Wighton allowed Croker to kick Canberra to an 8-0 lead and let Croker inch closer to surpassing Andrew Johns in the all-time NSWRFL/NSWRL/ARL/Super League/NRL point scorers list.
Heading into halftime, the Titans started to build some momentum with repeat sets. Don appeared to score in the right corner again, but Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad stopped him. After their injury-affected fadeout against the Warriors last week, the Raiders’ renewed defensive commitment was pleasing for Milk fans.
The Tians finally broke through Corey Thompson after a right-to-left spread. This time CNK couldn’t stop him.
After four lopsided results in the Easter weekend so far, it was nice to see a close contest.
HALF-TIME: Gold Coast Titans 4 Canberra Raiders 8Embed from Getty Images
The Titans had the better of the start of the second half (helped by a couple of seven-tackle sets from deep Raiders kicks), but couldn’t capitalise on their chances. Jamal Fogarty, struggling with a quad injury, dropped a ball cold while looking to pass and soon left the field.
Despite this, Canberra were first to score in the second half, with Josh Papalii (and his Dickie Knee-style mullet) barging over. Croker converted to give Canberra a 14-4 lead.
The Titans Captain’s Challenged a lost ball against Tyrone Peachey, but it was unsuccessful.
Canberra optimistically Captain’s Challenged a possible escort penalty, but it failed. The Titans couldn’t take advantage of the attacking field position. Croker returned the favour with a knock-on of his own.
There was bad news for Don, going off with a hip flexor injury.
The knock-on’s continued on both sides as the Titans kept hammering Canberra’s line. It was almost like “hot potato” footy from the Titans as they couldn’t convert their chances. Their frantic play may have been a result of the game’s fast pace, with fatigue causing some basic errors.
Canberra finally put the game away, with a try to Ryan Sutton in the closing minutes off a nice pass from Tom Starling. Croker converted the try to draw level with Johns in equal fourth.
The Raiders moved (temporarily) into the top four, with a blockbuster against Penrith next Friday night. It also rounded out an excellent Easter weekend for ACT football teams, with the ACT Brumbies beating the NSW Waratahs last night and the Raiders’ NSW Cup team smashing Newtown 60-20 earlier today. Meanwhile, the Titans showed they’re the real deal in 2021, with Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (209 all run metres) an absolute sensation.
FULL-TIME: Gold Coast Titans 4 Canberra Raiders 20
to be advised
Match Review Committee
Sam Lisone (Titans) – Dangerous Contact Head/Neck – Early Guilty Plea – $1700 fine.