Full Time
7:50pm Thu April 14, 2022
Round 6 - GIO Stadium Canberra, Bruce - Crowd: 11854

Match Overview

The Canberra Raiders have collapsed in stunning fashion on Thursday night, held scoreless in the second half as the North Queensland Cowboys surged to an 18-12 win.

It was the seventh time this season the Raiders had blown a double-digit lead, with Ricky Stuart's men ruining poor execution in the first half, even as they charged out to a 12-0 lead.

The first half was hardly perfect, with Canberra lacking potency on the edges and struggling to capitalise on dominant field position.

What the Raiders did do well though was play the power game through the middle, with Josh Papalii and Joseph Tapine leading the way in the opening 40.

The pair combined for just under 200 run metres in the first half alone, allowing hooker Tom Starling to add some much-needed spark to an otherwise uninspiring attack.

Starling opened the scoring in simple fashion, beating a few North Queensland big men with a turn of pace to stroll through a gaping hole close to the line.

Canberra's only other try of the first half came through a shift to the right edge.

While the Raiders lacked polished when they moved the ball from side to side, this was one occasion where they got it right, with quick hands from Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad putting Jordan Rapana over.

Ill-discipline proved North Queensland's biggest downfall in the first 40 minutes, with Todd Payten's men conceding eight penalties.

Young gun Jeremiah Nanai was responsible for four of them in a half to forget for the Cowboys second-rower.

Another North Queensland edge forward made an immediate impact in the second half though, with Heilum Luki proving too strong for the Raiders defenders as he crashed over.

Canberra's inability to capitalise on its opportunities in the first half continued to prove costly, unable to put a revitalised North Queensland outfit away early in the second.

Then an inspired run from Valentine Holmes levelled the scores, setting up a thrilling finish.

And it was Nanai who redeemed himself, steaming onto a Scott Drinkwater kick to give North Queensland the lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

It ended up being enough, with Jason Taumalolo and Holmes starring in the second half.

Taumalolo ran for 133 metres in a dominant showing while Holmes had seven tackle busts, two linebreaks and over 120 metres to go with his try.

The Cowboys will look to build their momentum against the Titans next week while it gets no easier for the Raiders, who face the Panthers.

3. Jason Taumalolo

Taumalolo exploded for his best game of the year, running for over 230 metres and turning the game in the second half.

2. Josh Papali'i

Like Taumalolo, it was Papalii who made an impact with every run, although he did it early. A quiet half though in the second with 29 metres but just under 100 in the first.

1. Valentine Holmes

Really went after the ball, charging onto a pass for a crucial try in the second half to go with 120 run metres and seven tackle busts.