Raiders? 18 point blitz crushes

Fulltime score: Round 4 RAIDERS 42 v DRAGONS 22

Match summary: An 18 point blitz in the opening 11 minutes has paved the way for the Raiders as they handed out a 42-22 thrashing to the St George Illawarra Dragons at Canberra Stadium tonight.

The Raiders played tremendously early on, controlling play on both sides of the ruck to fire in three quick tries.

The Dragons steadied the ship with 20-year-old prop Ashton Sims leading from the front. Then five eighth and skipper Trent Barrett celebrated his return from injury by setting up full back Ben Hornby.

At half time, the Raiders held an 18-6 lead.

The Raiders went further ahead in the second half with full back Clinton Schifcofske and hooker Lincoln Withers repeatedly injecting themselves into the back line and at one point, the home side led 36-12.

Saints made a fist of it however, scoring back-to-back tries. But the Raiders had the final word, cracking the 40 points when Jason Smith scored just before full time.

While the Raiders will celebrate a big win and top spot on the NRL ladder, St George Illawarra have a number of reputations coming to grief. Languishing in last place, the Dragons have conceded 40 or more points in three of their opening four matches.

Scorers: RAIDERS 42 Tries: Withers 2, Graham, Kahler, Mogg, Smith Goals: Schifcofske 9/9 DRAGONS 22 Tries: Hornby, Barrett, Sims, Best Goals: Head 3/4

Canberra Stadium Referee: Tim Mander

By the clock: 0 min: Beaut night in Canberra as the players come onto the field. Kickoff soon... Kickoff! NEWS - Changes to Dragons line up: Wes Naiqama in the side. Shaun Timmins in the centres in place of the injured Matt Cooper.

6 min: TRY - Raiders. Lincoln Withers scores against his old club. Conversion successful from Clinton Schifcofske. Raiders 6-0

9 min: TRY - Raiders. Winger Phil Graham shows a clean pair of heals to score. Conversion successful. Raiders 12-0

11 min: TRY - Raiders. Try to forward Kris Kahler. Yet another horror start for the Dragons. Conversion successful. Raiders 18-0

17 min: TRY - Dragons. Fullback Ben Hornby scores. Conversion from Mathew Head successful. Raiders 18-6

30 min: Still 18-6 to the Raiders. Dragons settling after having to do a mountain of tackling. Raiders enjoying 59% posession. Saints having to do 120 tackles to the Raiders 85. Saints also missing a number of tackles. Raiders offloading often.

HALF TIME: Raiders 18-6 Raiders running riot in the early stages scoring 3 tries in 11 minutes. A feature of the game being their offloads with forward Kris Kahler leading the way. The Dragons much better in the back end of the first half. Forwards Ashton Sims and Lance Thompson are hitting it up well and Sims has busted the line on a couple of occasions. Raiders certainly have front running at this stage, but this match is still up for grabs.

Second half underway...

47 min: TRY - Raiders. Adam Mogg scores. Conversion successful. Raiders 24-6

51 min: PENALTY GOAL - Raiders. Clinton Schifcofske makes no mistake. Raiders 26-6

53 min: TRY - Dragons. Trent Barrett scores. Conversion successful. Raiders 26-12

58 min: TRY - Raiders. Withers gets a double. Conversion successful. Raiders 32-12

64 min: PENALTY GOAL - Raiders. Raiders 34-12

67 min: PENALTY GOAL - Raiders. Raiders 36-12

72 min: TRY - Dragons. Ashton Sims scores. Conversion successful. Raiders 36-18

74 min: TRY - Dragons. Centre Colin Best scores. Conversion unsuccessful. Raiders 36-22

78 min: TRY - Raiders. Jason Smith scores. Conversion successful. Raiders 42-22

FULL TIME: Raiders 42-22 The Raiders had a dream start, showing heaps of class both sides of the ruck and enjoying over 60% of the possession overall. Full back Clinton Schifcofske is in tremendous form, injecting himself into the backline and making more metres than anyone else, as well as kicking 9 goals from 9 attempts, makes him our man of the match. Hooker Lincoln Withers is also in fine form as was centre Adam Mogg who attracted plenty of attention. Up front, Troy Thompson and Kris Kahler were the picks of the pack. For the Dragons, another thrashing as they made numerous defensive errors in opening minutes to concede 18 points. They played well at times and prop Ashton Sims was probably their best. Fellow front rower Luke Bailey topped the tackle count while Lance Thompson made a return to form with a number of quality hit ups. But overall, the Dragons seem to be going backwards at a rate of knots.

----------------------------------------- players of the match: 3 - C Schifcofske (Raiders) 2 - K Kahler (Raiders) 1 - L Withers (Raiders) -----------------------------------------