Full Time
6:00pm Fri June 9, 2023
Round 15 - GIO Stadium Canberra, Bruce / Ngunnawal - Crowd: 21082

Match Overview

The Warriors weathered the Raiders first half dominance, top turn the tables and score 30-6 in the second half to romp home in an impressive performance to ruin Jason Croker's 300th game celebrations.

From the outset Canberra were clearly the dominant side, overpowering the Warriors in attack and defence, with an overwhelming majority of the first half spent in the Warriors half and with the visitors defending staunchly.

Matt Timoko very nearly scored in the 11th minute, only to be kept just shy of the line by some stellar goal line defence by the Warriors. It would be another 11 minutes before the Raiders finally scored, thanks to a bit of a luck, when Jack Wighton grubbered close to the Warriors line, the ball ricocheted and popped up in the air, where Wighton regathered and strolled over to score under the posts. Jarrod Croker converted.

In the 24th minute Mitch Barnett was sent to the sin bin for a high shot on Jordan Rapana, however the Raiders were unable to capitalize on the extra man advantage they had, quite the contrary actually happened as the Warriors lifted a gear and worked their way back into the game. In the 30th minute, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak got hit high by Wighton as he left the back of the scrum, 10 metres from the Warriors line. The Raiders gave away another penalty just 3 tackles later and from the next set, Shaun Johnson put up a kick to the right wing, where Watene-Zelezniak leapt from inside the field of play and the Raiders in-goal area, caught the ball, landed on one foot just inside the sideline and scored brilliantly. Johnson then nailed the sideline conversion.

From the restart, Watene-Zelezniak instigated a scuffle with Corey Horsburgh which resulted in a penalty for the Raiders and Croker kicked a penalty goal to put the Raiders ahead by two in what was a whirlwind three minutes for the Warriors winger. At halftime the Raiders held a slim 8-6 lead, but were looking the better of the two units.

A Croker charge down 7 minutes after play resumed, gave the Warriors a repeat set and at the end of that set, Johnson drifted right, linked with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who then evaded the tackle by Croker and scored a good try. Johnson again converted.

A Luke Metcalf break in the 55th minute got the Warriors out of their own half and on the attack and two plays later, Tohu Harris at second receiver, shaped to pass out the back, before hitting the leading runner Tom Ale with a lovely short ball, who barged over to score under the posts. Johnson converted from in front.

The Warriors crossed again in the 63rd minute when Johnson held up a lovely ball for Metcalf, who charged onto it and scored under the posts. Johnson copped an accidental knock to the head, which saw him stay down while nursing a bloodied nose. Adam Pompey took over the kicking duties and converted from in front.

Marata Niukore was held up and denied a try in the 64th minute, but Wayde Egan wasn't denied when he ran from dummy half, shaped to pass, but then ran through some sloppy goal line defence and scored under the posts. Pompey again converted.

In the 75th minute, Niukore was sent to the sin bin for a shoulder charge which resulted in Rapana also coming off for an HIA. The Raiders got back-to-back penalties and then a set restart before Josh Papali'i barged over to score a powerful try in the 77th minute. Croker converted.

From the restart, the Raiders shifted the ball left along their own goal line, but one pass was thrown too high and Johnson, back on the field after passing his HIA, took an intercept and scored a cheeky try, which he converted to give the Warriors a commanding 36-14 victory.

3. Shaun Johnson

Johnson was impressive in the second half, where his kicking and passing game was on point, much like his decision making and goal kicking throughout the game. Scored a well deserved and well earnt try to close the game.

2. Wayde Egan

Egan had a big game, absorbing so much in defence in the first half and still able to be scheming and vital in attack in the second half. Never stopped working all game.

1. Tohu Harris

Harris put in a typically gritty tradesman's game, making a ton of tackles, over 100 metres and picked up a good try assist.