The Canberra Raiders held off the Canterbury Bulldogs for a 21-16 win at the Sydney Showgrounds.
The contest was physical and close right the way through the first half which was reflected in the 4 all score line after half an hour. It was only back to back tries by Mark McLinden close to halftime that put the Raiders up 16-4 at the break.
The Raiders extended their lead early in the second half. The Bulldogs knocked on from in their first set of the half and from the following set of six Lolesi connected with a McLinden kick to score.
It took until the 62nd minute for the Bulldogs to record their first try of the match courtesy of front row forward Mark O?Meley. They added another through Steve Reardon in the 76th minute but it was too little too late with a Schifcofske field goal on fulltime wrapping up the win for Canberra.
The Raiders now move 2 points ahead of the Bulldogs on the table and if results go their way this weekend, they could find themselves in a tie for first place. The only negative to come out of the match is that Jason Crocker has a suspected broken fibula which could end his season and possibly his career.
LeagueUnlimited?s Player of the Year Awards: 3 ? R Wiki (Raiders) 2 ? M McLinden (Raiders) 1 ? W Mason (Bulldogs)
Friday 29 August 2003 7:30 PM Sydney Showground Referee: Bill Harrigan Video Referee: Graeme West
Scorers: BULLDOGS 16 Tries: O'Meley, Reardon Goals: El Masri 4/4 RAIDERS 21 Tries: McLinden 2, J Monaghan, Lolesi Goals: Schifcofske 2/4, Schifcofske F/G
By the clock: 0 min: Kickoff!
4th min: NEWS - Canterbury have made their intentions clear very early on. They were given a penalty goal within 20 metres of the Canberra line and chose to tap the ball instead of taking a shot at goal.
9th min: NO TRY DECISION - A great Sherwin kick into the in-goal saw Nigel Vagana try to ground the ball. The replay showed that he clearly failed to do so but a penalty was given to the Bulldogs as Thurston was taken out by a Raiders defender.
9th min: PENALTY GOAL - Bulldogs. Courtesy of the penalty from the video referees decision, El Masri slotted an easy two points - Bulldogs 2-0.
17th min: TRY - Raiders. Joel Monaghan managed to sell a dummy to Utai and beat Harris for pace, dragging the Bulldogs centre over the line with him. Schifcofske fails to convert - Raiders 4-2.
20th min: NEWS - Canberra are sticking to the game plan that has worked for them all year of attacking up the middle and around the ruck.
26th min: NEWS - Both sides last tackle options have been poor. Which ever side sorts that area out will go a long way to being the next scorer.
31st min: PENALTY GOAL - Bulldogs. Canberra's Terry Martin interfered with Corey Hughes pass from dummy half which drew a penalty for the Bulldogs. Hasem El Masri stepped up and slotted the two points - 4 all.
37th min: TRY - Raiders. McLinden put a kick into the in-goal which Harris failed to control. McLinden chasing his own kick picked up the loose ball and scored. The video referee was asked to see if Harris had grounded the ball but ruled that he hadn't, awarding the try to the Raiders. Schifcofske converts - Raiders 10-4.
39th min: TRY - Raiders. Michael Monaghan showed superb footwork making a huge break. He drew in the fullback and passed to McLinden who scored his second try of the night. Schifcofske converts - Canberra 16-4.
Halftime: The Raiders have struck a big blow with back to back tries right on halftime. The Bulldogs have lost all 3 games this year where they have trailed at halftime. If recent weeks are anything to go by though, they certainly have the firepower to overcome this 12 point deficit - Halftime score - Raiders 16-4.
41st min: The second half is underway!
43rd min: TRY - Raiders. The Bulldogs made a mistake in their first set giving the Raiders a sniff. On the last tackle Mark McLinden kicked in behind the Bulldogs line and Lolesi pounced onto it to score. Schifcofske fails to convert - Raiders 20-4.
49th min: NEWS - The Bulldogs are on the rampage as they attempt to get back into this match. Roy Asotasi went over the line but was held up.
54th min: NEWS - The Bulldogs will be kicking themselves after several repeat sets on the Raiders line they failed to come away with points. They finally lost possession when Mason lost the ball over the line.
58th min: NEWS - Jason Crocker is down on the sideline with a problem to possibly the Achilles tendon or the ankle. Hes been taken away on the medicab and it could mean the end of his season.
62nd min: TRY - Bulldogs. Canterbury were awarded a penalty 20 metres out from the Canberra line and from the following set of six Mark O'Meley charged over the line to score. El Masri converts - Raiders 20-10.
66th min: NEWS - Jason Crocker has a suspected broken fibula. The injury list for Canberra continues as Terry Martin has been taken off after a head clash with a team mate.
71st min: NEWS - Both teams are really starting to tire now. Mason in particular is beginning to cause havoc against tired Raiders defenders.
72nd min: NEWS - The official crowd for the match is 20.016. A very good figure for the Bulldogs at a ground that has trouble drawing spectators.
76th min: TRY - Bulldogs. Steve Reardon was put into a hole and got over the line for a that keeps Canterbury in the game. El Masri converts - Raiders 20-16.
79th min: FIELD GOAL - Raiders. Clinton Schifcofske kicked a field goal that was touched in flight - Raiders 21-16.
Fulltime: Despite a strong fightback from Canterbury, the Raiders have held strong for a very well deserved victory. Fulltime score - Raiders 21-16.Like