The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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With more mentions of the word hoodoo than you could poke a stick at, the Dragons started the game strongly, with winger Brett Morris denied a try through the controversial obstruction rule before latching onto a Nathan Fien chip to secure his four-pointer minutes later. The Raiders then took control of the contest from that point, scoring in the 32nd minute through Reece Robinson. Jarrod Croker's accuracy with the boot put his side 6-4 in front, a lead the Raiders looked likely to take to halftime.
It was in the shadows of halftime that the most unusual moment of the match ensued, with Jamie Soward returning a Raiders' drop-out with a drop-kick of his own - a field-goal to reduce the deficit to one at halftime.
Trailing 6-5, the Dragons came out looking lethargic in the second half and an energetic Raiders side took full advantage, scoring quickly to take a 12-5 lead through Robinson for the second time. They managed to turn it around a few moments later though, with Daniel Vidot taking advantage of an overlap to reduce the margin back to one point.
From that point the men in scarlet became their own worst enemy, drop-balls a feature of their second half showing, allowing the Raiders two more tries to take a 24-11 lead. A glimmer of hope for the hoodoo-stricken Dragons shone in the 65th minute when Nathan Fien crossed, but Canberra held out for the remaining minutes, adding a late try through Jarrod Croker (his second), to ensure the Dragons would remain winless at the venue for the 13th year.
Next week the Dragons will head to Sharks Stadium for the local derby against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, while the Raiders have a Sunday night match at Hunter Stadium against the Newcastle Knights.
CANBERRA RAIDERS (30)
Tries: Reece Robinson (2), Jarrod Croker (2), Sandor Earl
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (5/5)
ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (17)
Tries: Brett Morris, Daniel Vidot, Nathan Fien
Field Goals: Jamie Soward (1/1)
Conversions: Jamie Soward (2/3)