Canberra post first victory for NRL season
Posted on 12/17/18 5:04 PM
Canberra have beaten Canterbury 26-10 for the Raiders’ first win of the NRL season.A wounded Canberra have broken through for their first win of the NRL season in courageous style, holding out Canterbury for a 26-10 victory.
The Raiders played with only one fit man on the bench for the final 23 minutes at GIO Stadium on Thursday following injuries to Sam Williams (knee) as well as Ata Hingano and Michael Oldfield who both suffered concussion.
Aidan Sezer also went to the bench after a heavy hit late in the match from Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson, who was placed on report.
While Hingano, Oldfield and Sezer will go through the head injury assessment protocols this week, Williams looks likely for an extended stint on the sidelines with a suspected medial knee injury.
Despite the game-ending injuries, Ricky Stuart’s men snapped a five-match losing streak to win their first game since round 25 last year on the back of a vastly improved performance in defence.
Stuart was “one proud coach” after the game, just five days after he blasted his players as “soft” following their heavy defeat to Manly.
“I said before the game to them, ‘make me apologise to you for what I said last week’,” Stuart said.
“It’s nice for me to see what I see every day in the effort and the grind in what I believe is one of the toughest wins I’ve ever been involved in with the green jumper.”
The Raiders entered round five with the fourth-worst defence in the league, but conceded just two tries against the Bulldogs, which came to Kieran Foran in the 52nd minute and Josh Morris’ consolation effort on fulltime.
Their attacking game was on show on the back of two tries each from captain Jarrod Croker and fellow centre Joseph Leilua.
Croker was on the end of terrific kicks from Sezer for both of his tries that came within five minutes of each other midway through the second half to break the game open.
The Canberra crowd lifted early in the contest as Jordan Rapana ran almost the length of the field before passing to Leilua.
The Raiders were out to a 12-0 buffer when Sezer set up Rapana who again combined with Leilua.
Hingano and Oldfield, an inclusion for Jack Wighton who was a late withdrawal after his partner gave birth early on Thursday morning, went down with the heavy knocks late in the first half.
Canberra weren’t alone in having injury concerns with Bulldogs veteran Brett Morris failing a HIA after copping a heavy knock in the 11th minute.
Morris’ injury and Jackson on report soured an already dirty night for Dean Pay’s team as they slipped to a 1-4 record.
“We’re doing a lot of good things, but we’re just killing ourselves with errors and penalties,” Pay said in the post-match press conference.
“There’s some boys really busting their arse each and every week, but we’re not getting the reward for what we’re doing as we’re just turning the ball over far too much.”