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Match summary: The Canberra Raiders kicked off their 2005 season with a very tradesmanlike victory over the Newcastle Knights by 39-14. Looking like a team who had spent considerable time together , the new look Raiders applied 80 minutes of pressure and had little trouble putting an injury riddled Knights outfit out of their misery. The Newcastle team struggled for most of the game without their international hooker Danny Buderus and a fairly debilitating injury to captain and lone play maker, Andrew Johns.
Returning from a stint in the English Super League, forward Matt Adamson looked extremely stable and offered the Raiders some serious go-forward during his time on the field.
Simon Woolford was superb. He directed play and defended in a brilliant display of courageous captaincy ably assisted by his new halfback in Lincoln Withers.
If this is the style of no nonsense footy the Raiders are going to play this year then a few teams had better start looking over their shoulders.
Fullback Clinton Schifcofske was as safe as the proverbial house and offered his usual rock solid defence accompanied by turns of electrifying pace on attack.
A complete effort from a Raiders team some had doubts about this year. Maybe Matt Elliot has got the recipe right ?
Score details: RAIDERS Tries: Schifcofske 2, Frawley, Smith, Gafa, Adamson Goals: Schifcofske 5/5 con, 1/1 pen 1/1 field goal KNIGHTS Tries: Tanner, Tighe Goals: Johns 2/2 con, 1/1 pen
By the clock: Beautiful day for footy in Canberra. The Raiders are without Ian Hindmarsh following a leg injury.
0 min: Kick off!
5th min: TRY, Schifcofske. Ran onto a great pass to score under the posts. Converts his own try. Raiders 6-0
13th min: NEWS. Try saving tackle by Knights player Luke Quigley following pressure on the Knights tryline by Withers.Raiders are playing solid no-frills footy and its paying dividends.
17th min: TRY. Raiders: Woolford makes the break, nobody with him so he puts up the kick which Raiders centre Craig Frawley runs onto to score.Schifcofske converts. Raiders 12-0
22nd min: News. Raiders denied by video ref after Rothery just loses the ball over the Knights tryline following a penalty against Johns.
28th min: News. Johns limping following a solid tackle. Trying to run it off.
32nd min: News. Tongue denied a try, just offside following a deft Woolford kick. Raiders looking good with errors galore coming from the Knights. Score remains 12-0
34th min: PENALTY. Raiders. Schifcofske kicks the goal following a high shot from Matt Gidley on Rotherick which ref Robinson deemed serious enough to go on report. Raiders 14-0
38th min: TRY. Knights.Tanner finishes off a concerted move from the Knights. Johns converts. Raiders 14-6
Half time: The Raiders have played a very positive style of football in the first 40. The combination of Withers and Woolford is reaping valuable rewards and creating space for their backs. The Knights, on the other hand, look disjointed and lacking direction. The absence of their hooker, Danny Buderus, is plainly obvious and Joey Johns is trying to run the show on his own whilst suffering from a leg injury.
41st min: 2nd half kicks off.
46th min: TRY. Knights, Tighe scores a classy try on debut. Picks up a good pass and runs 30 metres to dot down beside the upright. A badly limping Johns converts. Raiders 14-12
51st min: TRY. Raiders, Clever piece of play by Canberra, ball goes along the backline till the winger runs out of room. Puts in a gentle kick infield for Jason Smith to gather up and score.Schifcofke converts. Raiders 20-12
60th min: PENALTY. Knights. Thompson goes high on Kennedy and the Raiders are penalized out in front. Easy kick for Johns. Raiders 20-14
65th min: TRY. Raiders. Knights under pressure on their line have a sloppy pass intercepted by Gafa who scores a very opportunistic try under the posts. Schifcofske converts. Raiders 26-14
75th min: FIELD GOAL. Raiders. Schifcofske puts the game out of the Knights reach with a well struck field goal 15 mtrs out and directly in front.Raiders 27-14
77th min: TRY. Raiders. Matt Adamson sprints in and picks up yet another superbly placed Woolford kick to score from out wide. Schifcofske converts.Raiders 33-14
Fulltime: Raiders a decisive victory over the Knights, 39-14
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Woolford (Raiders) 2 - L Withers (Raiders) 1 - C Schifcofske (Raiders) -----------------------------------------