Mitch Bourke reviews the Saturday night clash between Canberra and Brisbane. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Sebastien Kris (4), Corey Harawira-Naera (15), Sam Williams (25), Emre Guler (30), Josh Papalii (52), Semi Valemei (55), Jack Wighton (63)
Goals: Sam Williams (16, 27, 31, 57, 64)
Tries: Tyson Gamble (22), Tesi Nui (34), Selwyn Cobbo (74)
Goals: Jesse Arthars (35, 75)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Bailey Simonsson (Canberra Raiders)
2 pts – Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
1 pt – Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Karmichael Hunt’s NRL homecoming was soured by a commanding Canberra victory.
The home side skipped away to a 10-0 lead early and never looked back.
Sebastian Kris opened the Raiders’ account in the fourth minute, crossing the stripe through the quick hands of Jack Wighton and Bailey Simonsson.
Wighton had his fingerprints all over Canberra’s second try as well, paving the way for Corey Harawira-Naera to streak into the backfield and score under the posts.
An absurd Herbie Farnworth and Tyson Gamble play kept Brisbane within six. The fullback pulled out all stops to keep the ball alive, and his blind overhead flick found the outstretched toe of Gamble who finished it off.
Sam Williams put any hopes of a Broncos resurgence to bed for the short-term, finishing off a brilliant Matt Timoko run.
The Raiders’ lead was further extended when Emre Guler willed his way to the in-goal.
A costly Ryan Sutton error on the first play after points opened the door for a late-half Brisbane try however; last-minute inclusion Tesi Nui took it upon himself to make the most of the opportunity, putting the Broncos within 12 at the main break.
The 19-year-old taunted the Raiders defence with his fast and elusive feet before zipping through their line to score off his own kick. All on the second tackle.
HALF-TIME: Canberra Raiders 22 Brisbane Broncos 10Embed from Getty Images
Josh Papalii broke the second-half deadlock: a crucial try considering their second-half woes of late. The play came off the back of a brilliant Elliott Whitehead charge-down which allowed Simonsson to sprint nearly the length of the field, taking the Raiders from their own 20 to their attacking 20.
The lead was stretched to 22 coutesy of a sharp Simonsson flick pass and scintilating Semi Valemei spin.
Brisbane’s two tries so far had been nothing short of magic, and it would’ve taken some more to spark a comeback: the hopes of which were done no favours when a contentious Kobe Hetherington send-off reduced the battling visitors to 12 men.
Wighton capitalised on the advantage and made a sure thing of the result, darting through the Broncos’ holes for the Raiders’ seventh try of the night.
Staying true to their tune of magical tries, a no-look Jesse Arthars flick pass allowed Selwyn Cobbo to score his first NRL try on the right-edge for the Broncos, but it was far too little, far too late.
The Raiders were denied an instinctive try late; the Bunker ruling Jordan Rapana had pushed Farnworth off the ball before grounding it.
As frustrated as they were, it didn’t spoil the party; with the 38-16 victory reviving Canberra’s slim finals hopes.
FULL-TIME: Canberra Raiders 38 Brisbane Broncos 16
to be advised
Match Review Committee
Kobe Hetherington (Broncos) – Grade 1 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea $1,150 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1,500 fine.