It was a tough day at the office for the nib Newcastle Knights after they were defeated 46-28 by the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on Friday evening.
The Knights were surprised by the Raiders' desperation as Canberra’s big men helped them to a 26-point first half and Canberra kept the points coming in the second stanza, adding another 20 points for a dominant victory.
The home side got on the board early as Junior Paulo muscled his way to the line in the third minute. The bunker awarded the try before Jarrod Croker stuck the conversion to put his side into the lead at 6-0.
Another came for the Raiders minutes later thanks to a high ball by Aiden Sezer, as Croker picked up the crumbs to plant the ball over out wide. The Raiders stretched their lead, 10-0.
In the 11th minute, Croker took the option of a penalty goal 20 metres out and nailed it before play was pulled back for a high tackle and the opposition again opted for the penalty goal. The Raiders led 14-0.
In the 26th minute, the Knights finally got on the board as Shaun Kenny-Dowall bagged a try to continue his prolific stint out wide for the Knights. Trent Hodkinson booted the conversion as the Knights trailed 14-6.
Five minutes later, Jamie Buhrer made his way to the line for the Knights second but the home side staged an immediate repliy as Jack Wighton crashed over 32 minutes in. The Raiders led 20-10.
There were two quick penalties for the Raiders before Jordan Rapana scored in the corner with a minute to go. Croker converted after the siren as Canberra led 26-10 into the half time break.
In the second half, it was big man Daniel Saifiti who crashed over the line in the 52nd minute and despite a no try from the referee, the bunker overturned the call. Hodkinson converted out in front, Raiders led 26-16.
Rapana got his second with a run down the right side before Croker booted another penalty goal in the 63rd minute and then again for Rapana, as he recorded the hat-trick out wide. The Raiders led 40-16.
The scoring assault continued as Blake Austin dived over in the 71st minute before a right-to-left play saw Mitch Barnett finish it off with a try against his former club. Canberra led 46-22.
In the final two minutes a pin-point grubber by Nathan Ross landed in the hands of Kenny-Dowall to score for the Knights. Hodkinson converted from the sideline but it was the Raiders who took the win, 46-28.
Newcastle Knights 28 (T: Kenny-Dowall, Buhrer, D. Saifiti, Barnett, Kenny-Dowall, G: Hodkinson 4/5)
Canberra Raiders 46 (T: Paulo, Croker, Wighton, Rapana 3, Austin, G: Croker 6/7, PG: Croker 3/3)