2023 NRL Round 9: Raiders 31, Dolphins 30

Andrew Pelechaty reviews another nail-biting clash between Canberra and The Dolphins.

Result

Canberra Raiders 31
Tries: (5) Jarrod Croker 1st; Jack Wighton 5th; Jordan Rapana 20th; Sebastian Kris 35th; Jamal Fogarty 66th
Goals: (5) Jarrod Croker 7th, 17th, 22nd, 48th, 67th

One-Point Field Goal: Jamal Fogarty 83rd

The Dolphins 30
Tries: (5) Connelly Lemuelu 57th, 61st; Euan Aitken 25th; Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 30th; Jesse Bromwich 71st
Goals:
(5) Jamayne Isaako 27th, 31st, 58th, 62nd, 72nd
One-Point Field Goal: N/A

Embed from Getty Images

Report

After one of the most dramatic weeks in their history, Canberra started with an early try to Jarrod Croker. It was Croker’s first try since his return to first grade this year (and try 134 overall). But he missed the conversion as Canberra led 4-0.

Canberra’s second try went to Jack Wighton (off a nice ball from Corey Horsburgh). Croker converted for a 10-0 lead.

Canberra got an off-side penalty in scoring position, with Croker converting the penalty goal for a 12-0 lead after 18 minutes.

The Milk got the ball back after Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow was taken over the sideline. They took advantage of it when Rapana scored on the right edge, with the Raiders showing a willingness to spread the ball. Croker slotted the sideline conversion for an 18-0 lead.

The Dolphins hit back when Euan Aitken scored. Jamayne Isaako converted to cut Canberra’s lead to 18-6 after 27 minutes.

Canberra nearly got the next try when Emre Guler crashed over, but he lost the ball over the line.

The Dolphins struck back immediately when Tabuai-Fidow scored, trimming Canberra’s lead to six.

Canberra eased some nerves when Sebastian Kris ran 50 metres from a scrum play, giving Canberra a 22-12 half-time lead.

The Dolphins Captain’s Challenged a play-the-ball error early in the second half, but it was unsuccessful. Though Canberra couldn’t make the most of it.

Ray Stone was put on report (but not sin binned) after a dangerous tackle on Albert Hopoate, with Croker kicking the penalty goal for a 24-12 lead after 48 minutes.

The Dolphins stayed in the game when Connelly Lemuelu scored after a break and offload from Kodi Nikorima. Isaako’s conversion cut Canberra’s lead to 24-18 with 20 minutes left.

Lemuelu scored a double four minutes later as The Dolphins tied the score at 24-24.

Canberra hit the lead again when a Jamal Fogarty bomb was picked up by Corey Harawira-Naera from a Robert Jennings fumble, with Fogarty backing up to score. Croker slotted the easy conversion.

Jesse Bromwich scored his first Dolphins try to tie the game up at 30-30, barging over close to the line.

After not opting for a field goal in the previous set, Fogarty had a chance to kick a field goal in the last seconds, but missed, taking the game to Golden Point.

Fogarty redeemed himself by kicking the winning field goal in the 83rd minute. It was the Raiders’ first one-point field goal since Round 3, 2021, when George Williams kicked one against the Warriors.

While it was Canberra’s third straight win (putting them in touch with eight), again they found a way to nearly squander a comfortable lead: they led by 18 after 22 minutes, 10 at half-time, and 12 after 48 minutes. Though The Dolphins should be commended for refusing to give up and nearly pulling off a second straight comeback win, and they stay in the eight (for now) despite the loss.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS

Embed from Getty Images

3 – Jamal Fogarty (Raiders)
2 – Sebastian Kris (Raiders)
1 – Connelly Lemuelu (Dolphins)

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