Sickening KO’s mar Raiders victory
A WOUNDED Canberra have broken through for their first win of the NRL season in courageous style, holding out Canterbury for a 26-10 victory on Thursday night.
The Raiders played with only one fit man on the bench for the final 23 minutes at GIO Stadium following injuries to Sam Williams (knee) as well as Ata Hingano and Michael Oldfield who both suffered concussion.
Aidan Sezer also didn't see out the game after a heavy hit late in the match. Despite the game-ending injuries, Ricky Stuart's men snapped a five-match losing streak to win their first game since round 25 last year on the back of a vastly improved performance in defence.
The Raiders entered round five with the fourth-worst defence in the league, but conceded just two tries against the Bulldogs, which came to Kieran Foran in the 52nd minute and Josh Morris on full-time.
Their attacking game was on show on the back of two tries each from captain Jarrod Croker and fellow centre Joseph Leilua.
Croker was on the end of terrific kicks from Sezer for both of his tries that came within five minutes each other midway through the second half to break the game open.
The Canberra crowd lifted early in the contest as Jordan Rapana ran almost the length of the field before passing to Leilua.
The Raiders were out to a 12-0 buffer when Sezer set up Rapana who again combined with Leilua.
Hingano and Oldfield, an inclusion for Jack Wighton who was a late withdrawal because his partner gave birth early on Thursday morning, went down with heavy knocks late in the first half.
But Canberra weren't alone with their injury concerns with Bulldogs veteran Brett Morris failing a head injury assessment after copping a heavy knock in the 11th minute.