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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
In another wet and slippery game for Round 1, the Raiders travelled to the Gold Coast's Cbus Super Stadium before 9,843 diehard fans for the opening round of the season, keeping the Titans scoreless with a 21-0 victory.
The Titans were to play without the services of their halfback, Ashley Taylor, ruled out pre-game due to a quadricep injury. Alexander Brimson came into the line-up with Dale Copley rounding out the bench. Corey Horsburgh would debut for the Raiders, along with John Bateman and Bailey Simonsson.
Canberra started the better team, forcing a drop-out from the Titans early and looking slightly more impressive until the hosts picked up a couple of penalties to pressure the Raiders line.
The Titans would then lose their halfback Tyrone Roberts in the 12th minute to a suspected achilles tendon injury. This would prove to be a huge problem for the Gold Coast, compounding the loss of their other half before the game. There were still no points however, until the 20th minute, where the Raiders' Jarrod Croker slotted a penalty kick for a 2-nil lead.
The rain was teeming by this stage and it started to become a slog up the middle of the field. Three consecutive penalties gave the Raiders field position and another two points at the 27th minute.
Handling errors marred the last part of the first half before Iosia Soliola, from a Josh Hodgson grubber, gathered the ball to bring up the 20,000th point for the Raiders in their history - the fastest team to do so. Croker converted to give the Raiders a 10-0 lead into the break.
Canberra attacked early in the second half with Joseph Leilua pushing off four would-be tacklers to score on the right following a strong Cotric offload. Croker couldn't covert, but the 14-0 score line was going to be a tough ask for the Titans in the abhorrent weather.
The rest of the second half became a sloppy affair, with the error count tracking into the 20's as the steady rain showed no sign of slowing down. With barely any sets being completed, the Titans started to have a go at the Raiders line, but their finishing left a lot to be desired coming away with nothing.
Finally, more points came in the 65th minute, thanks to a clever offload from Papalii to Sezer who placed a kick perfectly into the corner for debutant Bailey Simonsson. Croker missed the conversion for a 18-0 Green Machine lead.
A penalty kick and a field goal would round out the scoring for the game, which was slow and error-prone for most of the 80 minutes.
The rain really put a damper on a game that could have offered so much more and the loss of the Titans halves meant it was always going to be a long afternoon, but the Raiders combinations of Sezer, Wighton and youngster, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad really gave their fans a confidence boost for the season to come. New import, John Bateman, also had some solid runs, whilst Papiliii's go forward in the front row and offloading ability put the Titans on the back foot.
Next week the Raiders host Melbourne on Friday evening, while the Titans are on the road against Cronulla on Saturday afternoon.
Gold Coast Titans 0 - Canberra Raiders 21
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
Halftime Score: Gold Coast Titans 0 Canberra Raiders 10
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jarrod Croker
2 points - Josh Papalii
1 points - Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
GOLD COAST TITANS (0)
CANBERRA RAIDERS (21)
Tries: Iosia Soliola, Joseph Leilua, Bailey Simonsson
Field Goals: Aidan Sezer (1/1)
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (1/3)
Penalty Goals: Jarrod Croker (3/3)