The Raiders have survived a late scare to come away with a hard-fought 22-16 win over the Roosters at GIO Stadium on Sunday.
With Joseph Tapine and Ryan Sutton leading the way up front the Green Machine converted a six-point half-time advantage into their sixth win of the season despite a herculean performance by Roosters fullback Joey Manu (34 runs for 300 metres).
The Roosters got across the stripe in the fifth minute through Sitili Tupouniua but the try was denied due to obstruction by Nat Butcher in the lead-up.
Four minutes later the Raiders got the ball rolling when Adam Elliott powered over from close range off a short ball from dummy half Zac Woolford.
In the 24th minute Manu put his stamp on the game with a trademark weaving run before delivering a flick pass to Tupouniua who carried three defenders over the line for his fifth try of the season. Sam Walker’s conversion made it 6-6.
Dancing Manu finds a surging Tupouniua
The Raiders regained the lead in the 30th minute when Sutton got an offload away close to the Roosters’ line and Xavier Savage picked the ball up off his bootlaces to dive over and make it 12-6.
So often a team that has struggled in the second half the Raiders got off to a flyer after the break when Corey Horsburgh charged down a Luke Keary kick in the 43rd minute and picked up the loose ball before offloading to Seb Kris who raced away to score.
Three minutes later Kris was in the action again, coming up with a trysaver on Tupouniua as the Roosters back-rower came up inches short of the line.
Adam Elliot strolls over
A forward pass by Sutton in the 51st minute handed the Roosters an opportunity but the set came to nothing after a poor pass out of dummy half by Billy Smith.
The Roosters eventually got over in the 62nd minute when Sam Walker took the line on and found Angus Crichton who delivered the final pass for Paul Momirovski to score and Canberra’s lead had been cut to 18-12.
Teenager Joseph Suaalii then produced a spectacular leap to bring down a Keary bomb and score in the right hand corner with 14 minutes to play and the Roosters were back within two points.
Matt Timoko then steadied the ship for the home side when he left Momirovski in his wake to score in the 71st minute but Jamal Fogarty’s conversion sailed wide and the score remained 22-16.
The Roosters threw everything at the home side in the closing stages but Ricky Stuart’s men hung on, their goal line defence as desperate in the 80th minute as it had been in the first.
Surging Suaalii flies high
- Raiders hooker Zac Woolford went on report in the 20th minute for a crusher tackle on Joseph Suaalii.
- The first half of the match was punctuated by 11 penalties as both sides’ discipline went out the window.
- Joey Manu had a sensatioinal game filling in for James Tedesco at fullback, running for 300 metres and breaking 14 tackles.
- Jordan Rapana was placed on report for lashing out with his boot and collecting Fletcher Baker in the head while trying to get to his feet to play the ball.
- In the absence of Maroons prop Josh Papalii it was left to Joseph Tapine to step up big time with 18 runs for 187 metres and three offloads. He was ably supported by Ryan Sutton (126 metres) and Adam Elliott (154 metres).
- The Raiders have scored the first try and led at half-time in their past six games.
- Raiders centre Seb Kris has scored five tries in his past four games.
Raiders hold on for big win
Play of the Game
On the half hour mark Xavier Savage showed incredible skill to pick up a pass off his bootlaces and dive over for the Raiders’ second try. Savage’s second try of the season came courtesy of a great offload by Ryan Sutton, who engaged two Roosters defenders and slipped the pass to his fullback looming in support. Having snared the ball with a great pick-up Savage put the finishing touches on the play with a huge dive into the in-goal to touch down for a Raiders special.
Spectacular Savage stuns Chooks
What They Said
“We made tackles tonight, some one-on-ones, that if we had have made last week [against the Eels] we win that one too. I think we can play better than what we did tonight. There’s some stuff we have to fix up so we just keep striving to be better.” – Raiders coach Ricky Stuart
Raiders: Round 13
“Really stop-start. The whole first half was penalties and errors. I felt like we lost the ruck – they were more dominant in the way they carried and the way that we tried to tackle, they won that area. I feel like we asked enough questions to get the points we needed to win that game but overall really disappointing not to pressure right to the end there. To let in 22 points and then miss some of the opportunities that we did have we end up with the scoreline that we got so we didn’t deserve to win.” – Roosters coach Trent Robinson
Roosters: Round 13
The Raiders travel to Brisbane in round 14 to tackle the in-form Broncos and will be hoping Jack Wighton and Josh Papalii are able to back up four days after Origin One. Ricky Stuart’s men had a big win over Brisbane the last time the side met in round 14 last year and Papalii was a key figure with 178 running metres and a try.
The Roosters are at home at the SCG in a blockbuster against the Melbourne Storm. Both sides will be sweating on the availability of Origin stars as they renew a rivalry which has produced some epic clashes in recent years.