Raiders survive late onslaught to down Sharks

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Canberra Raiders v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

The Canberra Raiders have notched up their first win of 2023, getting out to a hefty second half lead before surviving a late comeback attempt to beat the Cronulla Sharks 24 point to 20.

The home side were on the back foot from the beginning, losing hooker Danny Levi to a suspected broken jaw in the opening minutes, meaning Tom Starling would take on an increased role. 

The Raiders' problems compounded when the Sharks took full advantage of a Fogarty grubber that went dead. Ronaldo Mulitalo had half and inch and was able to get past James Schiller and set up his fullback Will Kennedy under the posts. 

The Raiders were able to use a Toby Rudolf error in his own half to their advantage, dominating field position with a strong defensive set that allowed them to start in enemy territory.

They were able to hit back, with Wighton throwing a great right to left cutout pass to Albert Hopoate, who finished well in the corner. Fogarty nailed the sideline conversion to tie things up at 6-apiece. 

Both teams then engaged in an arm wrestle, with Briton Nikora producing a huge hit to jar the ball loose from Fogarty and stop a Canberra attacking raid in its tracks. 

It wasn't long before the Raiders were back in the red zone, this time due to a penalty for high contact from McInnes. This time, they capitalised, with Corey Horsburgh crashing over the line courtesy of some great deceptive work from Tom Starling out of dummy half.

The Sharks hit right back however, marching down the field with ease and putting Will Kennedy in prime position to grubber for Mulitalo, who grounded the ball in the corner. Trindall missed the conversion, meaning the score remained 12-10 to the Raiders at the break. 

Cronulla started the second half on the front foot, receiving a penalty on play number 1. The advantage was short lived though, they would soon give away an obstruction penalty while in possession.

The Raiders would then receive another penalty and set restart, and they took full advantage, with Timoko receiving early ball and embarrassing Matt Moylan to cross for his first try of the season. Fogarty's conversion made it an 8-point ball game.

The Sharks could not get out of their own way, making back to back mistakes while coming out of their own end. They would not be let off the hook, with the Raiders making a line break and using the momentum to put Corey Horsburgh over for his second of the night, and all of a sudden the lead was 14. To add insult to injury for the Sharks, Royce Hunt was sent to the sin bin for throwing a punch in backplay. 

Cronulla were not going to lie down though. Off a penalty and set restart, they forced a mistake from James Schiller and promptly took advantage, shifting the ball right for Jesse Ramien to slice through and score.

The Sharks ended up not conceding any points during Hunt's stint on the sidelines, and it looked like they were finishing the stronger of the two teams when Trindall threw a short ball to put Nikora over for a try. The score was 24-20 to the hosts with just over 6 minutes to go, a grandstand finish waiting in the wings. 

The Sharks would end up in a scenario where they had about one minute and twenty seconds to go 90 metres and score, but it wasn't to be, with Hudson Young cleaning up a last ditch grubber effort from Trindall, the Raiders holding on to win by 4.

Next week the Raiders travel to Newcastle to take on the Knights, while the Sharks will be at Kogarah against the Dragons.

Canberra Raiders 24 - Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 20

Venue: GIO Stadium Canberra, Bruce
Crowd: 14134
Halftime Score: Canberra Raiders 12 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 10 Players of the Match:
3 points - Corey Horsburgh
2 points - Joseph Tapine
1 points - Braydon Trindall

Tries: Albert Hopoate, Corey Horsburgh (2), Matthew Timoko
Conversions: Jamal Fogarty (4/4)

Tries: William Kennedy, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Jesse Ramien, Briton Nikora
Conversions: Braydon Trindall (2/3), Siosifa Talakai (0/1)

See how it happened in our Match Centre