Raiders run roughshod over Knights

The Canberra Raiders today showed a clean pair of heels to flog the Newcastle Knights 44-14 at Canberra Stadium, overcoming a slow start in front of 10,453.

A strong performance from the Knights in the early exchanges gave way to lazy defence and frustrated players, after the visiting side had initially led 14-0 after as many minutes.

Knowing they needed to turn things around quickly to back up their emphatic win over the Storm last week, Canberra lifted a gear and posted three tries before the break, all unconverted, to be within two points at halftime.

The second half was a lime-green landslide, with the Raiders dominating. Blake Ferguson and Sandor Earl both completed hat-tricks, while Jack Wighton bagged one himself, as did Reece Robinson. The Knights defence had no answers, and the few opportunities the visiting Novocastrians had to attack were littered with errors and incomplete sets.

Wayne Bennett's Knights now will back up to face the in-form Canterbury Bulldogs next Sunday at Hunter Stadium, while the Raiders, full of confidence, will head to Sharks Stadium to face a rejuvenated Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks next Sunday, all as part of Women in League round.

Match Details
Canberra Raiders 44 Newcastle Knights 14
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Crowd: 10453
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 14-12

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Blake Ferguson
2 points - Josh Papalii
1 point - Reece Robinson

CANBERRA RAIDERS (44)
Tries: Sandor Earl (3), Blake Ferguson (3), Reece Robinson, Joe Picker, Jack Wighton
Conversions: Blake Ferguson (4/8), Reece Robinson (0/1)

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (14)
Tries: James McManus, Robbie Rochow
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Kurt Gidley (1/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

A sunny afternoon in Canberra welcomes the hosts, the Raiders, and the visiting Newcastle Knights.
Team news as follows - RAIDERS lose Berrigan and Foster from an extended bench, with Josh Papalii the new man in, returning early from injury. For the KNIGHTS, Matt Hilder and Neville Costigan are omitted, with Korbin Sims and debutant Adam Clydsdale given a chance from the bench.
Earlier another high scoring Holden Cup Under 20's contest was won by Canberra, 40-26 over Newcastle.
Newcastle about to take to the field in their traditional red and blue striped jersey. Canberra in lime green are not far behind.
We're underway in Canberra, the Knights have the ball first.
4 min: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by James McManus. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
McManus in support out wide, receives an inside ball and benefits from some smart Tahu running to score the first try. A great sideline conversion from Gidley too.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
7 min: Raiders with a penalty to give them their first attacking set of the afternoon.
8 min: Last tackle kick goes high towards... nope, OVER the sideline, on the full. Sandor Earl could've hired stilts and still not reached that one. Knights handover.
10 min: Terry Campese kicks it out on the full attempting a 40/20.
12 min: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Robbie Rochow. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
Some great line running from the Knights and Rochow takes it on the outside to score his first try this season. Gidley from out wide, another great kick.
Newcastle Knights 12-0
14 min: SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Penalty goal attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
Gidley adds the two points for Newcastle after the Raiders were penalised for a strip.
Newcastle Knights 14-0
19 min: Raiders with a scrum after a Newcastle error. 30m out, a chance for them to strike back after a sluggish start.
23 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
Scored by Sandor Earl. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson unsuccessful.
Numbers on the right for Canberra and Sandor Earl has the speed to race to the corner and plant it down. Ferguson shanks the conversion terribly. Ten points the margin.
Newcastle Knights 14-4
27 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
Scored by Blake Ferguson. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson unsuccessful.
Ferguson makes Timana Tahu look like a park footballer there, leaving him clutching at air. He runs over 30 metres untouched to score. His second conversion attempt is also missed.
Newcastle Knights 14-8
30 min: Canberra with more attacking footy here, Newcastle continually forced to retreat...
33 min: Raiders on the end of an unlucky forward pass call, Shillington the culprit. Looked flat on replays.
36 min: Raiders penalised for offside on the Knights 35m. Newcastle with a long touchfinder, but they drop it on tackle one, 30m from the Raiders line.
40 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
Scored by Sandor Earl. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson unsuccessful.
Quick hands out wide, question over the last pass but Earl has a double for the Raiders. Ferguson from the sideline again misses. Knights by two at oranges.
Newcastle Knights 14-12
HALFTIME in the Canberra suburb of Bruce, and the visitors hold a slender two-point lead after initially racing to a 14-0 scoreline early. Since Gidley's penalty goal for the Knights, the Raiders have dominated most of the play. Momentum definitely with the Raiders!
Play resumes in Canberra. The Raiders have it first.
42 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
Scored by Blake Ferguson. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson successful.
Blake Ferguson scores his second, and this one is under the posts. It means he finally converts his first from four attempts! Canberra now lead by four.
Canberra Raiders 18-14
46 min: Canberra on the attack again...
48 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
Scored by Sandor Earl. Conversion attempt by Reece Robinson unsuccessful.
Sandor Earl gets a hat trick - out wide of course! Reece Robinson takes the kicking duties but without any success either.
Canberra Raiders 22-14
53 min: Canberra have lifted and Newcastle just haven't gone with them. The Knights battling to get out of their own end at the moment. A relieving penalty here for Newcastle getting them out of their own half.
54 min: Back to back penalties now, Newcastle will attack.
57 min: Gidley puts a last tackle kick out on the full. Raiders handover on halfway,
61 min: UNFORCED ERROR NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Korbin Sims makes an unforced error.
Korbin Sims can't hold a Kurt Gidley offload as he looks to run at the line. Knights attack is blunted, Raiders scrum 30m from their own line.
66 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
Scored by Reece Robinson. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson successful.
Poor defence from the Knights. Papalii ducks past a few and finds Robinson in support who scores. Ferguson takes back the kicking duties, and gets his second of the afternoon.
Canberra Raiders 28-14
71 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
Scored by Blake Ferguson. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson successful.
Ferguson leaps high above to claim his third - it's a hat-trick for the NSW Origin hopeful! He converts it as well, Canberra lead by twenty.
Canberra Raiders 34-14
75 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
Scored by Joe Picker. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson successful.
Joe Picker scores for the Raiders as the floodgates open at Canberra. Ferguson converts and Canberra hit forty.
Canberra Raiders 40-14
78 min: TRY CANBERRA RAIDERS
Scored by Jack Wighton. Conversion attempt by Blake Ferguson unsuccessful.
A high ball for the corner is grabbed by Jack Wighton despite plenty of attention. This is a rout! Ferguson misses.
Canberra Raiders 44-14
That'll do us for Sunday footy in Canberra - an absolutely dominant second half from Canberra, overcoming a slow start and 14-0 deficit to smash the Knights 44-14.
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