Despite having their backs to the wall for most of the contest, the Canberra Raiders will have silenced some of their detractors with a brave 30-10 victory over the Cronulla Sharks.
The Raiders started the game fast yet again as they opened the scoring after just six minutes when Sione Katoa was in all sorts underneath a bomb from Brad Schneider as he was completely outleapt by Sebastian Kris who got above Katoa and scored.
Discipline and poor play hurt the Sharks as the Raiders continued their dominance and it was after repeat pressure that the Green machine took advantage when Josh Papali'i charged over from close range. The Raiders added a penalty goal soon after before Sione Katoa's poor afternoon continued when a bone crunching tackle from Sebastian Kris forced the ball loose and Corey Harawira-Naera was able to score in the middle pushing the score out to 20-0 on the half hour mark.
The Sharks were given a chance a few minutes as the Raiders lost their first player to the sin bin when Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was given his marching orders by referee Liam Kennedy for a professional foul. Despite going down to 12, Canberra had one final chance just shy of half time that was denied by the bunker with Jordan Rapana being ruled offside.
The second half was always going to be a test for the Raiders given their efforts in recent weeks and their mettle was tested when discipline issues gave the Sharks plenty of opportunities to score. The Raiders for a second time were down to 12 men when Corey Horsburgh was given ten minutes in the sin bin after the bunker ruled that the Canberra second rower took out the kick chaser.
The Sharks took advantage eventually when Sione Katoa scored out wide despite there being questions about a potential obstruction in the middle that stopped Nicoll-Klokstad from sliding across, but it was given the all clear.
Things were going to get tougher for Canberra when Elliott Whitehead was sent to the sin bin for high contact that saw Dale Finucane ruled out of the game meaning the Green machine went down to 11 for a short period. The Raiders were also copping some tough calls and a harsh knock-on call saw the Sharks use the field position as Royce Hunt was able to spin his way out of a tackle to slam the ball down.
Messy play was the downfall of the Sharks as the Raiders took advantage late on in the contest when Zac Woolford went out of dummy half and split the Sharks defence and found Brad Schneider to score. A few minutes later, the Sharks threw a wayward pass that was cleaned up by Hudson Young who raced 70m to score and seal the victory.
Next week, the Sharks stay in Queensland to take on the Gold Coast Titans whilst the Canberra Raiders have a road trip to Dubbo to take on South Sydney.