Brad Inger reviews the Round 8 clash between the Warriors and the Raiders at Moreton Daily Stadium; here’s how the match went.
New Zealand Warriors 21
Tries: Adam Pompey (24), Viliami Vailea (31), Euan Aitken (63)
Goals: Reece Walsh 4 (25, 31, 64, 79)
Field goal: Shaun Johnson (82)
Canberra Raiders 20
Tries: Matthew Timoko (6), Hudson Young (27), Jack Wighton (34)
Goals: Brad Schneider 3 (7, 15, 34)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
A new look Warriors outfit got the match underway but loss the ball on their first set when new recruit Daejarn Asi knocked the ball on; the call was initially called a Raider’s knock-on, but they successfully challenged the call.
Canberra followed that trend a few plays later when they also lost possession.
Both sides traded sets back and forth before the Raiders, on the back of a penalty, surged up the field with ease before sending Matthew Timoko across for the first try of the afternoon with some excellent ball play, shifting quickly to the left edge.
Jesse Arthars sparked the Warriors back into action with a strong kick return minutes later and earnt the home side a penalty, but they let the opportunity go begging when Addin Fonua-Blake lost control of the play the ball; the visitors were handed back-to-back penalties after this error but could not turn them into points after Jordan Rapana was tackled with the ball on the last tackle.
Shaun Johnson tried a 40/20 but could not get the angle right, and Canberra surged up the field after Matt Lodge was penalised for a high shot, Adam Elliott found open space and was close to scoring, but the Raiders were given another penalty after Lodge tackled a player without the ball, Brad Schneider pushed the visitors lead out with a penalty goal.
The Warriors were given a penalty after Jack Wighton was put on report for a dangerous tackle on Reece Walsh, but they made another error when Johnson threw a wayward pass that sailed over the sideline.
Canberra looked close to scoring minutes later when Elliott fumbled a loose ball near the try line, letting the Warriors off the hook.
The home side had an improved set and got to their kick which was caught by Jordan Rapana, who quickly passed to Nick Cotric, who dropped it; the Warriors promptly took advantage, shifting the ball out to Adam Pompey, who dotted down for the Warrior’s first try.
After getting themselves back into the contest, the New Zealand side let themselves down when Fonua-Blake dropped the ball on the first run after the try.
The Raiders wasted little time taking advantage of this mistake, sending Hudson Young across for Canberra’s second try.
The Warriors responded quickly when Asi chipped a kick through, which was sure to be collected by Rapana, but the fullback slipped, which saw Viliami Vailea scoop it up to score the first try in his NRL career.
It was groundhog day for the home side as they lost possession via Eliesa Katoa on the return set and could not contain the Raiders, who shifted to the left again, sending Wighton across to score.
With the first-half winding to a close, the Warriors kicked early to try and catch the Raiders off-guard, but Rapana latched onto it; Canberra had a few half-chances with some nice offloads but could not turn them into points as the siren sounded, seeing the sides go into the sheds with the Raiders holding onto a decent lead.
HALF-TIME: Canberra Raiders 20 New Zealand Warriors 12Embed from Getty Images
The Raiders started the second half in the manner they ended the first, running at will and almost getting into a scoring situation again when Young pushed a grubber through for Xavier Savage but Walsh was able to latch onto it and keep the Warriors out of trouble.
The sides started trading errors for the following few sets. The only notable aspect of play was Lodge was penalised and placed on report for raising his elbow when running into Corey Harawira-Naera.
Canberra tried another grubber which Walsh once again defused.
The run of errors continued for both sides, Walsh attempted to insert himself into the Warrior’s attack and looked threatening, but a forward pass stopped any chance of adding to the score tally.
Tempers started to flare when Ben Murdoch-Masila entered the match and had a push fight with Joseph Tapine, which saw the Warriors earn a penalty; Tapine would have the last laugh, though, when he forced an error when tackling Murdoch-Masila on the next set.
Despite the mistakes, the home side was building momentum, keeping the action in the Raider’s half and eventually scoring the first points of the half when Asi put Euan Aitken into a hole to cross the line untouched reducing the deficit to two.
The New Zealand side kept the pressure on and moments later looked to have taken the lead for the first time in the match when Johnson hopped and skipped his way across the line; however, the bunker deemed that Tom Starling was impeded from being able to tackle the halfback.
This kicked the Raiders into action, and they barged up the field and piled the pressure on the Warriors, forcing the New Zealand side to try and run the length of the field for the victory.
Asi attempted a 40/20 to get the Warriors into great field position, but it sailed out on the full. Time was running out, and the Warriors got the ball to Johnson, who put up a bomb which Schneider dropped before being knocked on by Walsh.
The home side had a few attempts to break the Raider’s defensive line from the scrum but had no luck until they were given a penalty for an apparent high shot on Lodge, which saw Walsh level the scores to send the match into Golden Point.
The Raiders received the ball first, but the Warrior’s defensive effort was up to the task, and they forced an error when Starling threw a forward pass from the ruck.
The home side played it safe with some one-out running to set up Johnson for the field goal, which he nailed, handing the Warriors a much-needed come from behind victory.
FULL-TIME: New Zealand Warriors 21 Canberra Raiders 20
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Wayde Egan (Warriors), 2 pts – Jack Wighton (Raiders), 1 pt – Daejarn Asi (Warriors)
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