A strong performance from Wests Tigers Holden Cup was not enough to defeat the Canberra Raiders in today’s Round 3 clash at GIO Stadium, going down 54-10.
In a back-and-forth match at the nation’s capital, Wests Tigers began the better of the two sides — leading 10-0 inside the opening few minutes of the match — but as possession began to level out, the Raiders eventually worked their way back into the contest and made the visitors pay for some lapses in defence with an 44-point victory.
Following a strong start from Wests Tigers, Canberra incredibly did not have a touch of the football until the ninth minute of play and found themselves trailing 10-0 at that time — tries to Connelly Leumelu and Hosea Leuea giving the visitors an early lead.
However, that lead was short-lived as Canberra quickly found their form in attack, with hooker Jarred Tuite burrowing over close to the posts to cut the score to 10-6, before centre Seb Kris crashed his way over out wide to give the Raiders a tight 12-10 lead.
Needing to hold firm heading into half-time, Wests Tigers were dealt a cruel blow as Jack Murchie fell on a loose ball in the in-goal just moments before the interval, with Harry Van Dartel converting from close to the posts to give the Raiders a 18-10 half-time lead.
Off the back of further ill-discipline with the ball from Wests Tigers, it was the Raiders who pulled further away in the second half — crossing for two quick tries shortly after the break through captain Kalani Going and William Samuel to further extend their lead.
Van Dartel’s sharp goal-kicking continued, taking the hosts’ lead out to 30-10.
With the fullback continuing to find through up the middle of Wests Tigers, Canberra would again cross for points through Sebastian Kris, who finished off a superb team move to blow the lead out to 36-10 with 20 minutes still remaining in the contest.
They wouldn’t stop there either, with Emre Guler crashing over under the posts off an inside ball to make it 42 unanswered points from the home side with 10 minutes to play.
Hudson Young could have extended the lead further when he went through after 72 minutes, but instead of drawing fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen and passing to either of the unmarked players with him, he dummied and was quickly wrapped up by Papenhuyzen, who had already made a number of try-saving tackles.
Instead, it would be the captain Going who grabbed his second try of the match shortly after, crashing through some flimsy defence to fall over to the left of the uprights.
Van Dartel’s successful conversion pushed the Raiders’ lead out to 48-10.
Canberra would crack the 50 mark in the final minutes of the match, with Sato Ketia-Opo backing up on the inside to go over under the posts — taking the scoreline out to 52-10 as the siren sounded and giving the Raiders a much-deserved victory.
Canberra Raiders 54 (Going 2, Kris 2, Tuite, Murchie, Samuel, Ketia-Opo tries; Van Dartel 9/9 goals) def. Wests Tigers 10 (Leumelu, Leuea tries; Leuea 1/2 goals) at GIO Stadium.