A defensive masterclass from the Canberra Raiders has seen the Green Machine take a 20-4 victory over the Gold Coast Titans at Kogarah.
The two sides were testing each other out in the early stages with both sides looking to put their opposing defence under pressure but neither side could get over from close range. The Raiders opened the scoring after just seven minutes when George Williams' deception saw the Titans think the Englishman was going out the back with the play instead going short to Elliott Whitehead who went through the middle before linking with Jarrod Croker who put his own magic on with a flick to Jordan Rapana to score.
Some strong cover defence from Jack Wighton saved the Raiders from conceding the next points when a brilliant effort from Wighton forced Anthony Don into an error as the Titans flyer was diving across to try and score. The Raiders then added a penalty goal soon after to extend their lead out to 8-0.
Anthony Don had a second try disallowed this time by the Bunker after again Don lost possession of the ball as he was trying to get the ball over the line in a strong tackle. The Titans finally got on the board in the final stages of the first half when Corey Thompson was able to fight his way over the line and did a remarkable job to keep his feet in the air to stay in the field of play. The missed conversion from Patrick Herbert meant the Titans would go to half time trailing 8-4.
The early stages of the second half saw the Raiders defence come under plenty of pressure from the Titans who couldn't land the blow to get onto the scoreboard again. An error from an injury-affected Jamal Fogarty put the Titans under pressure and the Raiders too advantage as Papali'I was too big and too strong to stop from close range to extend the lead out to 14-4.
The defensive pressure continued to mount on the Raiders but as exhaustion started to creep into the Titans attack, it began to fall to pieces as they just couldn't break through the Canberra defensive line and the attacking structure became non-existent which didn't help.
Despite spending most of the half defending, the Raiders were able to add a try on the stroke of full time when Ryan Sutton fought his way over the line from short-range to score. The conversion from Jarrod Croker put the Canberra captain into equal fourth on the all-time points scorers list.
Next weekend, the Titans will head back to the Gold Coast when they host the Newcastle Knights next Saturday whilst things get tougher for the Raiders as they have to take on the top of the table Penrith Panthers at Panthers Stadium on Friday night.