A Huge Second Half as Canberra Crush the Tigers

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The Wests Tigers and the Canberra Raiders would meet each other in the final game of round 14, as rep round loomed from Campbelltown Stadium on a cool Sunday afternoon. The Tigers and the Raiders were both coming off losses last week, as the Raiders were yet again heartbroken by a field goal at home. The Tigers would take a loss on the road, with Cronulla just too good for a lackluster Tigers outfit at Southern Cross Stadium.

Both teams made changes to their named team lists on Tuesday, with the home side having to make a forced change. Tyson Gamble would make his debut, as Josh Reynolds ended up yet again on the sidelines with injury. Matt McIlwrick would come into the starting line up, with Elijah Taylor moving onto the bench in the only other change.

Canberra would make a few changes as well, with Josh Hodgson moving to the bench as a means to feed him into the game. Sivila Havili would start, as he has done all season for the Raiders, with Dunamis Liu also coming into the starting side as Iosia Soliola moved to the bench.

It took four minutes for the opening points to be posted, with Joey Leilua getting over off a set play from a scrum. The Raiders went adventurous early and it worked, with an overlap allowing Leilua to stroll over out wide for his 5th try of the season. Jarrod Croker would miss the kick to leave it at 4-0.

It wouldn't take long for the Tigers to hit back however, with a mixture of a great line from Chris Lawrence and a poor defensive read from Josh Papalii allowing the Tigers to jump into the lead just six minutes later. Matt McIlwrick would cut out Eisenhuth and Papalii expected the ball to go out the back to Luke Brooks, allowing Lawrence to just stroll through the gap next to the posts. Esan Marsters would convert the goal to make it 6-4.

Three minutes later, Corey Thompson would finish a wrap-around play and burrow his way to the line for the Tigers to take a 10-4 lead. The persistent little fullback would just get the tip of the ball onto the tryline to extend the Tigers lead, as Esan Marsters would convert from the right side to make it 12-4. 10 minutes later, Blake Austin would be sent to the bin after tackling Corey Thomspon after a penalty and a quick tap.

With Josh Hodgson coming onto the field for the first time this season after an ACL injury, the Raiders lifted in intensity and on the scoreboard. Hodgson would get a penalty for his team, before gifting Josh Papalii with a short run to the tryline, with the Raiders big man going over for his 3rd try of the season. Croker would convert from right next to the posts to make it 12-10 with 10 minutes to go in the half.

Alex Twal had his first try taken off him, as his strip off Nick Cotric would end up being ruled to have gone forward back into the Canberra winger before he re-gained it. The Raiders would have a couple of close calls as half time crept closer, however nothing would come of it as the Wests Tigers took a 12-10 lead into halftime.

It wouldn't take long for the Raiders to get going after the break, with a couple of repeat sets paying off. Joseph Tapine would get over from close range to allow the Raiders to get the lead back 4 minutes after the half time break, with Jarrod Croker making no mistake from the right side of the posts to make it 16-12.

The Raiders would go in again with some fantastic play down the left hand short side sending Nick Cotric in for a superb try. Josh Hodgson would dummy a kick to pass to Elliot Whitehead, who would give it to Jarrod Croker. Croker would catch and flick out the back to a flying Nick Cotric, who barrelled over Corey Thompson and score his 7th try in 6 games in the left hand corner. Jarrod Croker would convert a tough kick to make it 22-14 with 25 minutes to go.

It would be the combination of Josh Hodgson and Joseph Tapine yet again as Tapine would go over for his second try of the day on an angled run. The previous play, Chris Lawrence had been knocked senseless after colliding with the hip of Russell Packer as he made a tackle on Blake Austin, leaving that short side wide open. Jarrod Croker would miss the kick to leave it at 26-12 with 20 minutes to go.

Mahe Fonua would go down with what would look to be a forearm injury, and the Raiders would take full advantage of it as Blake Austin would go screaming through a hole in the Tigers defense to score. Croker would make no mistake from in front, to make it 32-12. Off the short kick off, Jarrod Croker would tap it back to Elliot Whitehead who would bounce through multiple tackles and offload to Jack Wighton... all for it to be taken away as Josh Hodgson was ruled to have obstructed Elijah Taylor in trying to tackle Whitehead.

The Raiders went over yet again as the Tigers defense was helpless to the magic of Elliot Whitehead and company. Whitehead would break away from tackles and offload to Jarrod Croker, who's ball inside to Jack Wighton allowed the fullback to go screaming through. Wighton would offload to Liam Knight, and the former Raider would step back outside before passing to a very open Michael Oldfield, who would go on to score in the right hand corner. Jarrod Croker would hook his kick too far to make it 36-12 with 8 minutes to play.

We would go back to the bunker on the very next set, as Shannon Boyd would get the ball over the line right next to the posts. There was a hint of obstruction, however it was cleared as Canberra thought to have gotten the ball down. Somehow, the Bunker would declare that Shannon Boyd was held up even though there was no conclusive evidence to overturn the decision of try.

It would not matter as the very next play Jack Wighton would kick for Joey Leilua to grab his second try of the game and get the try that the Raiders deserved. This would get the Raiders over 40 points, with Jarrod Croker kicking the conversion to make it 42-12. Liam Knight would then get his first NRL try thanks to a lovely pass from Aidan Sezer, with Knight twirling through the line and making Corey Thompson look like he had lolly legs as he would go over next to the posts. Croker would make it 6/9 from the boot to make it 48-12 with just over a minute left.

That is how it would end, with the Raiders scoring 44 unanswered points (38-0 in the second half) as they took the away win 48-12. The Tigers are now two wins out of the eight, and its their eighth loss in a row at their "home ground". Both teams get a week off with rep round, as the Tigers take on the Titans at Leichhardt Oval while the Raiders travel up to Brisbane to take on the Broncos.

Luke

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