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2022 NRL Week 1 Finals, Storm 20 Raiders 28 – Report

Canberra Raiders have sensationally knocked out the Melbourne Storm from the 2022 NRL Final series at AAMI Park.

MATCHDAY RESULTS

SCOREBOARD

Melbourne Storm 20
Tries: Xavier Coates 3 (17, 21, 44), Nelson Asofa-Solomona (56)
Goals: Cameron Munster 2 (46, 58)

Canberra Raiders 28
Tries: Matthew Timoko (7), Jamal Fogarty (31), Elliot Whitehead (34), Hudson Young (65), Jordan Rapana (73)
Goals: Jamal Fogarty 4 (32, 36, 66, 75)

MATCH REPORT

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Despite being underdogs, Canberra started the better of the two sides and their pressure paid off with Jack Wighton making an exceptional break in midfield to offload to Xavier Savage who put Matthew Timoko in after a muscular finish – shoving off Cameron Munster – to cross the whitewash with just over seven minutes played to get the Raiders off to a perfect start.

The two sides traded sets and the Storm soon equalized through Xavier Coates off the back of a seamless shape down the Melbourne right edge. Melbourne backed up the try with Coates getting on the end of a Jahrome Hughes cross-field kick to put the Storm 8-4 in the lead after a missed conversion.

Seemingly in control, Melbourne showed frailties down their left edge defence and let Jamal Fogarty muscle over with a straightforward run near the line just over eight minutes from half time. Buoyed from levelling up, the Raiders got over the whitewash again very soon after, with Elliot Whitewash crossing for the try to put them 14-8 in the lead and after a Fogarty conversion the visitors led 16-8 at half time.

Melbourne mounted a comeback at the start of the second half, with Marion Seve breaking from deep in his own half to then pass to Cameron Munster on the inside who gifted the ball to Xavier Coates for his hat-trick.

Storm continued to pressure the Raiders – who had a few prominent sets themselves – and eventually crossed again through Nelson Asofa-Solomona barging his way over from short range off a block play in front of the sticks.

A successful challenge from Melbourne appeared to be a clinch point for the home side, staving away unrelenting Raiders attack. They didn’t stop it for long with the Raiders receiving a goal line drop out kick to press the Melbourne line again for Hudson Young to beat Munster to the ball and dot down off an excellent kick from Jack Wighton.

The scores were levelled, and the Raiders went two points ahead with a Jamal Fogarty conversion. Canberra contained Melbourne and a contentious penalty gave the Storm good field position to try and take back the lead, only for Justin Olam to lose the ball and gift Canberra midfield possession with just over 10 minutes to go.

Melbourne stole the ball back on the ensuing set though and made easy yards downfield but couldn’t make the possession pay and conceded a key penalty on a second effort tackle from a Raiders kick return.

The Raiders, intent on keeping their lead put in a few sets of aggressive defence which ultimately forced and error from Nelson Asofa-Solomona with seven minutes to play. Given field position on the Melbourne 30 metre line, Canberra set up under the sticks and shifted left and, in doing so, got a fortuitous falcon off Sebastian Kris’ head for Jordan Rapana to dot down in the corner. Fogarty swung the conversion in to extend the lead to eight points at 28-20.

The Raiders looked home and hosed and indeed they were. A short kick off from the Storm straight after was regathered by the visitors and marched up field with the help of likely man of the match Joseph Tapine. Melbourne threw caution to the wind, however, and spread the ball in the final few minutes – offloading at every turn – but ultimately ended up in touch on the right-hand side of Canberra’s half.

The Raiders shut out the game with a final set before Melbourne tried to answer in the last minute to no avail and the visitors confirmed their Melbourne raid with a 28-20 victory.

PLAYER OF THE FINALS POINTS

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3 pts – Joseph Tapine (Raiders), 2 pts – Jamal Fogarty (Raiders), 1 pt – Jack Wighton (Raiders)

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