Canberra Raiders continued their dominance over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks with a solid victory at Magic Round in Brisbane.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 10
Tries: Sione Katoa (54), Royce Hunt (66)
Goals: Nicho Hynes (66)
Canberra Raiders 30
Tries: Sebastian Kris (5), Josh Papali’i (20), Corey Harawira-Naera (25), Brad Schneider (74), Hudson Young (78)
Goals: Brad Schneider 5 (6, 21, 24, 27, 76)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Finally, the rain that affected the first two days of Magic Round was replaced by humid conditions at Suncorp Stadium.
A surprise short kick-off from Nicho Hynes put Cronulla on the attack to start the game. However, it would be a frustrating half for the Sharks as they struggled to have any impact in the Raiders red-zone with sloppy attacking play.
Canberra to their credit played smart football. The wise head of Matt Frawley, and aggression of Sebastian Kris provided plenty of headaches for Sharks winger Sione Katoa. Katoa lost sight of Frawley’s kick in the sun, giving Kris a clear run to the ball for the opening try after five minutes.
Hynes’ error cleaning up a kick led to the Raiders second of the afternoon with Josh Papali’i crashing over under the posts to give his side a surprise 12-0 lead.
Briton Nikora’s penalty for dangerous tackle allowed Brad Schneider to extend Canberra’s lead to fourteen points.
Katoa’s afternoon went from bad to worse after Kris landed a heavy hit from a kick return which resulted in a turnover and Corey Harawira-Naera scoring. The Raiders skipped out to a twenty-point lead.
The only first-half blemish for the Raiders was the sin bin to Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad after he held down Ronaldo Mulitalo after a line-break.
Canberra almost scored despite being down to twelve men with Nick Cotric’s try overturned by the officials with Jordan Rapana ruled offside.
Jack Williams afternoon was over after leaving the field with a shoulder injury.
The Sharks had plenty of catch-up to do if they were going to remain in the top four at the end of this round.
HALF-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0 Canberra Raiders 20Embed from Getty Images
Cronulla’s attack wasn’t any better in the first period of the second half as the Raiders continued to defend their line strongly.
They were camped on the Raiders at one stage for several repeat sets which included Corey Horsburgh being sent to the sin bin after holding back Mulitalo from chasing a ball in-goal, and Schneider holding back Wilton resulting in a penalty. Canberra held their nerve.
Finally, at the 54th minute mark Katoa’s afternoon felt a little better as he crossed for the Sharks first try of the afternoon, but Hynes’ missed conversion saw the margin remain at sixteen points.
Elliott Whitehead was the third Raider sent to the sin bin after his shoulder made contact with Dale Finucane returning the ball after the restart.
Even with two men down, the Raiders held firm even though they appeared to be tiring and the Sharks were looking to press in attack.
Cronulla’s attacking play continued to be clunky but when Royce Hunt found the line with fourteen minutes to go the gap reduced to ten and they had a sniff of pulling off a remarkable come-from-behind win.
However, Cronulla continued to be their worst enemies in turning over possession. Debutant Zac Woolford found space out of dummy half before finding Schneider for the score that all but sealed the Raiders win.
Hudson Young took advantage of a Sharks mistake to scoot downfield and score with two minutes remaining, giving the Raiders a comfortable twenty-point win, their of the 2022 season.
Hynes’ involvement from fullback will come into question as Cronulla’s attack failed to fire many shots at the Raiders defence.
FULL-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 10 Canberra Raiders 30
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Matt Frawley (Raiders), 2 pts – Sebastian Kris (Raiders), 1 pt – Zac Woolford (Raiders)
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