Raiders hold on but look shaky

The Canberra Raiders have run out unconvincing 19-18 winners over the Newcastle Knights at a chilly Canberra Stadium this evening.

Canberra raced to a 12 nil lead but as usual, let the opposition back into the contest to hold a narrow two point lead at half time.

Raiders coach Matthew Elliott would be far from impressed with the Raiders form, which remarkably sees them with an equal share of the competition lead.

The Raiders are lacking cohesion, timing and most importantly go forward. None of the Raiders forwards bar Luke Davico are making an impression on opposing defences they way they were last year. Ruben Wiki?s suspension could prove to be a very painful time for the Raiders unless the forward dig in and tough it out for prolonged periods.

With Ruben Wiki out through suspension and Jason Croker yet to return from injury, the Raiders are lacking the leadership to see them through tough times on the field.

Newcastle can hold their heads high because they were the better team on the night and with Danny Buderus and Matt Gidley backing up from test duties, they should have won the match, had it not been for a poor pass from Kurt Gidley at the death. To blame Gidley for the loss would be cruel but it was a costly error and one that will come back to haunt the Knight should they fail to make the top eight.

Josh Perry, Danny Buderus and Daniel Abraham were outstanding for the Knights while for the Raiders it is hard to point out any one player who had a major effect on the game. Captain Simon Woolford lead from the front to score a crucial try early in the second half and Clinton Schifcofske saved the Raiders countless times but looks to have picked up an injury and may be in some doubt for the Raiders clash against the Roosters next week.

Scorers: RAIDERS 19 Tries: Hodgson, Monaghan, Woolford. Goals: Schifcofske 3/4. Drew FG.

KNIGHTS 18 Tries: M Gidley, Ennis, K Gidley. Goals: Abraham 3/4

By the clock: 1st min: Kickoff! We are underway in chilly Canberra where the temperature is a balmy 5 degrees.

4th min: PENALTY GOAL. Clinton Schifcofske gets the Raiders off the mark with an easy penalty goal. Raiders 2-0.

16th min: TRY - Raiders. Luke Davico slips a nice pass to Michael Hodgson who bashes and barges his way across the line to score next to the posts. Conversion successful. Raiders 8-0.

19th min: TRY - Raiders. Joel Monaghan crosses out wide after catching a McLinden bomb. Monaghan is one of the best in the NRL under the high ball. Conversion unsuccessful. Raiders 12-0.

22nd min: TRY - Knights. Matt Gidley crosses out wide to register the first points for the Knights. Conversion successful. Raiders 12-6.

34th min: TRY - Knights. Michael Ennis crosses out wide as Canberra find themselves struggling in both attack and defence. Conversion unsuccessful. Raiders 12-10.

HALF TIME: Canberra somehow find themselves in front after continuing on from where they left off last week. No forwards making ground, fundamental errors and poor options and killing the Raiders. They'll need a big second half to get the points here.

44th min: TRY - Raiders. Simon Woolford scores a great try next to the posts. If the Raiders are to win, Woolford has to keep the team moving forward from dummy half. Too much lateral movement is stifling any attacking raids they try to mount on the Knights. Conversion successful. Raiders 18-10.

47th min: PENALTY GOAL - Knights. Daniel Abraham reduces the deficit to a converted try. Raiders 18-12.

71st min: FIELD GOAL - Raiders. Brad Drew extends the Raiders lead to seven points. Raiders 19-12.

73rd min: TRY - Knights. Newcastle hit straight back through Kurt Gidley to leave the Knights just one point behind with just over five minutes to play. Conversion successful. Raiders 19-18.

FULL TIME: Canberra get out of jail with another one point victory but it was far from convincing and unless something dramatic happens, they will be cannon fodder for the Roosters next week. Newcastle can hold their heads high. They never gave up but the loss will see them lose touch with the top eight. ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - D Abraham (Knights) 2 - C Schifcofske (Raiders) 1 - D Buderus (Knights) -----------------------------------------

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