PREVIEW 🔍 Robert Crosby looks at what to expect in Sunday night's second State of Origin clash.
11 hours ago
Canberra have come away with their first victory of the 2017 season with a 46-6 win over the Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium in front of over 14,000 fans.
Outstanding performances from the likes of Jordan Rapana and Josh Papalii for the home side led the way against a confused Wests Tigers. With a game-starting error by second-rower Chris Lawrence, it didn't look good from the start.
The Tigers scored first through a David Nofoaluma intercept try off a Joseph Leilua pass, going from the 20 metre line and scoring upfield under the posts.
With four repeat sets in the Raiders' 20m zone, the Tigers had no intentions of making anything of it, and offered some fairly neutral attack throughout until Chris Lawrence finally gave away possesion with a couple more errors.
With a lot of dropped balls in the first half, completed sets were low. James Tedesco went through for 2 line breaks but made nothing of it, with Blake Austin saving a certain try for Jack Littlejohn. The scores were 6-all after the first 20 minutes but the Raiders didn't stop there, putting two more tries on the Tigers before half time through Josh Papalii and Austin.
Leading by 12 going into halftime, the Raiders were relishing the return of captain and centre Jarrod Croker and the fresh addition of Dave Taylor who made his club debut. On the other side of the coin the Tigers continued to struggle with Sauaso Sue taken in for a Head Injury Assessment (HIA), with the visitors having already lost Chris Lawrence.
In the second half, a relieving scrum feed for the Tigers on their own 20m would only go so far, as Kevin Naiqama fumbled the ball and Aidan Sezer passed to young Nick Cotric for his first NRL try.
Jack Wighton saved a possible Moses Suli try in the corner, sending the rookie Tiger into touch, and as they continiued to look well and truly beaten, Rapana split the defence down the middle again to find Wighton and score the Raiders' fifth of the night. Having returned to the field from a previous HIA, Chris Lawrence found himself being checked back into the sheds again after copping another head knock.
With the Tigers once and for all not coming back, Croker went in to score as well as kicking 7/8 goals throughout the night.
Next week the Raiders will hope their good form continues with a trip to Brisbane on Friday against the Broncos, while the Wests Tigers will need to refresh their attack and defence very quickly if they're to challenge an in-form Melbourne Storm next Sunday at Leichhardt Oval.