Rugby League

Spirited Raiders fight back to down Dogs

May 18, 2024 6:47 am

[Source: NRL]

The Raiders overcame a horror period which saw them end the first half down to 11 men on Friday night to edge past the Bulldogs 24-20 in the opening game of Magic Round.

After making their opponents pay for two crucial errors inside the opening 20 minutes the Raiders looked set to take a big lead into the break, before it all fell apart in dramatic fashion around the half hour mark.

A calamitous defensive mistake from Jordan Rapana gifted the Bulldogs their first try through Jacob Preston, before the veteran Kiwi committed a professional foul and ended up in the sin bin.

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Josh Papali’i joined him minutes later following a hip drop and with the pair off the field Canterbury-Bankstown took full advantage to add further tries through Stephen Crichton and Matt Burton, which gave them a 16-12 lead at the break.

Things looked even better after Jacob Kiraz crossed two minutes into the second half, but that was to be the last of the reasons to cheer for the Dogs.

The Raiders had drawn first blood through Xavier Savage, directly off a Connor Tracey fumble, before Kiraz spilled the ball coming out of his own end and gifted Sebastian Kris another.

Rapana’s air swing and subsequent collision with Savage followed, leaving Preston to fall on a free ball and score, before referee Ashley Klein sent Rapana and Papali’i to the bin.

Down 20-12 with half an hour to play, Canberra needed something special and got it via teenage prospect Ethan Strange, with the playmaker laying on a crisp ball to send Hudson Young through.

Another effort from Young nine minutes later gave the Green Machine the lead again, with Ricky Stuart’s men surviving a nervous final quarter to claim win number six for the year.