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Raiders keep faint hopes alive in points bonanza
Raiders remain in the finals hunt after a 46-28 victory against the Knights in front of 10,523 fans in the nation's capital.
If 80 minutes of football could encapsulate the frustration of the Raiders fans in 2017 - it was tonight. Ball in hand, the Raiders looked like superstars but they also leaked points in alarming fashion to a Knights team that has struggled to get past 20 points this season.
Knowing they needed to rack up a huge scoreline, the Raiders came out on fire. Quickfire tries to Joseph Paulo and captain Jarrod Croker in the opening twenty with Croker also adding a penalty goal, had them up 14-nil without the Knights touching the ball.
Raiders showed in patches, the attacking side of 2016. Jordan Rapana, who had gone five games without scoring, broke his drought in style tonight. He crossed for a hat-trick with ease, which took his tally to 20 for the season. Blake Austin and Jack Wighton added their own efforts to take the tally past 40 points as the Raiders spine looked on a mission tonight.
Much of the credit for the display, goes to Aiden Sezer. The halfback has been maligned through 2017 for his lackluster performances but he showed up tonight, despite copping a few knocks, pulled the strings for a Raiders attack that has been desperate for a leader all season.
Despite them being confirmed for the spoon, Newcastle refused to turn their noses up tonight. Mid-season recruit Shaun Kenny-Dowall bagged himself a double, while Jamie Buhrer Daniel Saifiti and Mitchell Barnett also found the stripe to keep the Raiders defense honest all night.
Now, it all comes down to the last weekend for the Raiders. They need a few results to go their way this weekend, but ideally, they will be playing minor premiers Melbourne, for their chance to sneak into the top eight at the expense of the Dragons - a team they are equal on for and against with after tonight's display.
Canberra Raiders 46 - Newcastle Knights 28
Venue: GIO Stadium Canberra
Halftime Score: Canberra Raiders 26 Newcastle Knights 10
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jordan Rapana
2 points - Aidan Sezer
1 points - Blake Austin
CANBERRA RAIDERS (46)
Tries: Junior Paulo, Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton, Jordan Rapana (3), Blake Austin
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (6/7)
Penalty Goals: Jarrod Croker (3/3)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (28)
Tries: Shaun Kenny-dowall (2), Jamie Buhrer, Daniel Saifiti, Mitchell Barnett
Conversions: Trent Hodkinson (4/5)