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Match Report: NRL Round 23 vs Raiders

Despite a late comeback, Wests Tigers have suffered a 22-18 defeat to the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium.

The visitors fought back from an early ten point deficit to reduce the margin to just four points, but an unfortunate bounce of the ball in the final seconds ended the resurgence.

Neither side was able to trouble the scorers in the first 25 minutes of the match despite a number of quality attacking opportunities.

Isaiah Papali’i took a crucial intercept in the second minute to prevent the Raiders from opening the scoring before Albert Hopoate lost control of the ball over the goal line.

Jahream Bula was denied a sensational solo try due to a double movement, while Jack Wighton ignored several unmarked players on his inside and threw the ball over the sideline after breaking the line.

The hosts eventually posted the first try after a chip kick took a wicked bounce and fell into the waiting arms of Sebastian Kris.

Hudson Young then took advantage of his team’s fifth penalty of the half to extend the Canberra lead to ten points.

With halftime looming, David Nofoaluma produced a crucial intercept in the 35th minute of the match.

The winger did not have the pace to outrun the trailing Canberra defence but managed to keep the play alive by throwing an audacious spiral pass to Luke Brooks.

Brooks linked up with Charlie Staines and the left winger finished an incredible full-field effort in the corner.

Api Koroisau added the extras from the sideline and the visitors entered the sheds trailing by just four points.

A missed forward pass created the space for Sebastian Kris to open the second half with a sixty-metre try.

Undeterred by the controversy, Wests Tigers continued to attack and were rewarded for their intent as Api Koroisau found David Nofoaluma with a perfectly-placed cross-field kick.

The four-pointer saw Nofoaluma become the first player to score 100 tries for the joint-venture.

A try to Matthew Timoko was quickly cancelled out by Luke Brooks, who latched onto a grubbed kick from Api Koroisau to set up a grandstand finish.

A one-on-one strip then provided Wests Tigers with one final attacking opportunity in the final minute of play.

Luke Brooks spotted David Nofoaluma unmarked on the right wing and fired a kick across the field.

Nofoaluma appeared certain to score and tie the game, only for the ball to land on its point and balloon up into the Canberra sky.

The cruel bounce provided the Raiders' defence with enough time to come across in cover and snuff out any opportunity for the visitors to score.

Luke Brooks was a standout performer for Tim Sheens' side in the loss, with the halfback scoring one try, setting up another and kicking for 370 metres.

Wests Tigers will now travel to Hamilton, where they will host the New Zealand Warriors at FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday evening.

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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