NRL Match Report Rnd 1
The Canberra Raiders have defeated the Sharks 24 points to 20 in their opening round clash at Remondis Stadium.
In a tight and often fierce and fiery contest, the Raiders edged out the Sharks side to seal a hard fought four-point victory.
Full of running having received a penalty in the 7th minute, The Sharks failed to find touch and the Raiders went on to make them pay soon after.
Canberra fullback Jack Wighton compounded the hosts’ error when he crossed to score the opening try in the following set of tackles. Sharpshooter Jarrod Croker made no mistake adjacent to the posts as he sent the visitors up by six points inside the opening nine minutes.
A consistent flow of penalties to the Raiders saw them opt to take the two points on offer – the decision a mark of respect for the resolute Sharks defence that had absorbed a wave of attack.
The Sharks themselves received an easy out of their own end when awarded a penalty, and they too went on to take full advantage of the gifted field position.
Interchange forward Chris Heighington’s strong carry and offload close to the line paved the way for Anthony Tupou to score under the posts. The try being Tupou’s four-pointer in his last 63 games.
Edging to within two points, Sharks half Ben Barba looked to mount more pressure on the Raiders’ back three with a towering bomb. Wighton defused the threat, and went on to run the length of the field to again put the visitors out by eight.
Winger Sosaia Feki looked to have pegged the deficit back to two when he crossed out wide, only to be turned down by the video referee as he had stepped into touch.
A refreshed Sharks side took to the field after the half-time break, and Feki would not be denied upon his second venture to the stripe as he crossed to cut the Raiders’ lead to two.
Canberra winger Jordan Rapana ran in out wide to extend the visitors’ lead, although Croker was unable to add the additional points and the Raiders lead remained at a converted try.
Buoyed by the 11,096–strong Remondis crowd, Ricky Leutele finished off a sweeping back-line play to bring the hosts back to within two points. A gift two points from a penalty then squared the game at 18-apiece with 20 minutes to play.
A scuffle close to the Raiders' line would see Wighton and Feki sin-binned for fighting, with Gordon again opting to take the two points on offer from the sub-sequential penalty to send the Sharks to the front.
Off-season Raiders recruit Sisa Waqa crossed from dummy half in the 66th minute to again send his side in front; Croker slotted the extras and the visitors again went out by four.
The try to Waqa proved the difference at the end of the 80 minutes, as the Raiders hung on to round out the 24-20 victory.
The Sharks will now turn their attentions to next Friday night’s clash with the Brisbane Broncos at Remondis Stadium.