Raiders keep finals hopes alive against North Queensland

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Raiders 38 defeat Cowboys 12.
 
Match Review.
The final Super Saturday game for us was the Canberra Raiders hosting the North Queensland Cowboys in a -1 degree Canberra winter night. The Cowboys who are playing for pride and to avoid the wooden spoon had the tough task of stopping a desperate Raiders outfit who are required to win every game from here on out to have a chance to play finals footy.

The game started perfectly for Canberra with their second set resulting in a piggy back down field off a Cowboys penalty. with just 3 minutes gone and on the attack, halfback Sam Williams put in a beautiful corner kick for winger Jordan Rapana to leap up, take the ball and score the try. The try by Rapana was his first try against the Cowboys resulting in him scoring a try against all 15 teams, with his own Raiders being the only team he's yet to score against. Canberra then extended their lead not even 10 minutes later when a short side play given to captain Croker allowed him to send his other winger over as Oldfield went through untouched for a quick 8-0 lead.

While the Raiders were starting to let disciplinary issues slip into their game, the Cowboys were starting to find themselves and begin putting pressure on Canberra. A penalty by the Raiders marched the Cowboys down field and the North Queensland spine pulled out a beautiful set piece to open their scoring for the night. A cheeky run by hooker Jake Granville handed it off to captain Johnathan Thurston who popped the quick inside ball to his halves partner Te Maire Martin flying down the inside and split the Raiders defence in half before drawing in the Raiders fullback and giving his fullback Lachlan Coote the try.

As the Cowboys started to find momentum, the Raiders pulled out a try of the year contender to undo all the Cowboys hard work. A kick in goal for halfback Sam Williams looked like it was going dead, and Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt did too, however fill in centre Blake Austin slid in and touched the ball down in goal only centimetres from the dead ball line. Austin was amazingly only just brought on less than a minute before the try to replace captain Jarrod Croker who was pulled off for the remainder of the game due to a dislocated knee cap.

Just when we all thought Canberra would start to run away with it, they allowed the kick off to bounce out and put the Cowboys in instant attacking position. It was taken full advantage of when a grubber in goal by Thurston was dived on by back rower Gavin Cooper to bring the Cowboys within 2 points going into half time.

The opening 20 minutes of the game was spent in a back and forth arm wrestle with neither team being able to grab any points. However the Cowboys continued to look better and better the longer it went on, with the decision to decline two opportunities to tie the game with a penalty goal, but instead backing themselves. Although they couldn't go over for the try, the momentum was strong with North Queensland and the pressure was building on Canberra.

Canberra finally got into an attack position and were able to score the try and take the gap out to 8 points. A grubber in goal by Williams was fumbled by Cowboys fullback Coote which saw the Raiders winger Michael Oldfield grab a double and truly punish the Cowboys for not taking their chances when they had them.

Michael Oldfield completed his hat trick in the 70th minute when off a scrum he took on the line, strolled straight through and was off to the races for a 90 metre try and seal the much needed win for the Raiders. Canberra were able to add insult to injury and score only a few minutes later when a Austin Sezer grubber in goal was dived upon by Rapana to grab his double.

Aiden Sezer grabbed himself a final minute consolation try after Sam Williams broke through the defensive line to find his fellow half in support. Canberra continue to look stronger every week as they wait and hope for a Warriors loss to keep them only 4 points out from the 8th placed Warriors.

Canberra Raiders:
3' Jordan Rapana (Try)
11' Michael Oldfield (Try)
32' Blake Austin (Try)
34' Aiden Sezer (Conversion)
64' Michael Oldfield (Try)
66' Aiden Sezer (Conversion)
70' Michael Oldfield (Try)
71' Aiden Sezer (Conversion)
79' Aiden Sezer (Try)
80' Aiden Sezer (Conversion)

North Queensland Cowboys:
20' Lachlan Coote (Try)
22' Johnathan Thurston (Conversion)
35' Gavin Cooper (Try)
37' Johnathan Thurston (Conversion)

-Blake.

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