Wests Tigers have started their 2021 NRL campaign with a 30-12 loss to Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium having been made to do a mountain of defensive work throughout the contest.
Wests Tigers looked impressive in the opening 40 minutes and defended bravely for large periods of the game, but Canberra were too strong in the second half.
The Raiders scored three tries in the final 40 minutes to ensure they would record their first win of the season.
Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire would have been proud of his side’s defence in the opening 40 minutes with both scoring just once in the opening half.
2021 Match Highlights: Rd.1, Raiders vs. Wests Tigers
It had appeared Canberra centre Sebastian Kris had bagged the opening four pointer of the match when he crossed after 10 minutes, however the Bunker intervened after spotting a knock-on in the lead-up.
The Raiders continued to have a number of attacking raids in the opening 20 minutes, but the Wests Tigers defence stood tall to keep the home side out.
New Wests Tigers recruit Daine Laurie came up with an important try-saving tackle on Curtis Scott after the Raiders centre made a break down the right touchline.
Liddle breaks through for the opener
Wests Tigers then turned defence into attack and were rewarded for their efforts with the first try of the match when Luke Brooks linked up with hooker Jacob Liddle, who spun his way over the line. Brooks stepped up to kick his first ever NRL goal to give the away side a 6-0 lead after 27 minutes.
The Raiders levelled the scores just before the break when winger Jordan Rapana pounced on a deflected George Williams grubber kick.
It wasn’t a great start to the second half for Wests Tigers with Raiders recruit Ryan James scoring straight away for a 12-6 advantage.
The home side extended their lead to eight with 31 minutes remaining with Williams slotting a penalty goal due to a Wests Tigers ruck infringement.,
The Bunker had to step in again to disallow another potential Canberra try after Laurie was tackled without the ball before Williams ran 70 metres to cross.
The Raiders, however, extended their lead to 14 in the 54th minute with forward Hudson Young grabbing a try before Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scored again for the home side.
Wests Tigers David Nofoaluma scored with seven minutes remaining after centre James Roberts sent him over in the right corner. Brooks added the extras with a curling conversion from the sideline, but Rapana crossed again late to put the result beyond doubt.
Raiders enforcer Josh Papalii was sent to the sin bin on the stroke of full-time.
Wests Tigers will turn their attention to next Sunday's first home game of the season against Sydney Roosters at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Canberra Raiders 30 (Rapana 2, James, Young, Nicoll-Klokstad tries; Williams 5/6 goals) def. Wests Tigers 12 (Liddle, Nofoaluma tries; Brooks 2/2 goals)
Match: Raiders v Wests Tigers
Round 1 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra