For the first time this year, the Canberra Raiders have recorded back to back victories with an impressive 28-16 victory over the Northern Eagles. Canberra now have next week off with the bye and must start preparing for their match against the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday, June 16.
Canberra got off to their usual slow start with a few basic errors that gave the Eagles the jump with a soft try to John Hopoate. Luke Williamson converted to take the Eagles out to a 6-0 lead.
Soon after Canberra hit back through a try to second rower Michael Hodgson that came off a perfectly timed pass from captain Simon Woolford. From there, Canberra seemed to grow in confidence and started to back their ability in both attack and defence with Mark Mclinden scoring a double and Ruben Wiki running as hard as he has done all season.
Canberra went to the break up 12-6 with the Eagles but running into the wind proved to be more effective for the Raiders with Canberra soon out to 18-12 with more to come with Mclinden scoring untouched after some great work in broken play from Brett Finch and Simon Woolford. Soon after, Phil Graham kicked ahead in open play and had far too much speed to also score untouched to take the Raiders out to a 24-6 lead. Canberra then relaxed and let the Eagles have some respectability with late tries to Torrens and Reeves to give the scoreline some repsectability.
Other strong performers for the Raiders were second rowers Michael Hodgson and Terry Martin who provided an even balance of effective running and bruising defence. Rookie forward Mark Bryant looked right at home in only his second first grade match and made some strong runs.
Canberra today looked to share the workload and played as a team that wanted to win. It was a pleasing effort but still much work needs to be done before the Raiders are definite contenders for the top eight. A settled lineup is proving the best tonic for a young side and the experienced campaigners such as Wiki and Croker are thriving in their roles as leaders on the field.
Enjoy the bye.
Raiders 28 - Eagles 16 Raiders (Tries: Hodgson, McLinden x 2, Graham, Croker. Goals: Schifcofske 4/5)
Eagles(Tries: Hopoate, Torrens, Reeves. Goals: Williamson 2/4)