Canberra continue surge to finals

The top-four chasing Canberra Raiders travelled to the Gold Coast knowing they wouldn’t want to get off to another slow start against a much-improved Titans side.

Despite a solid start from the Titans, they looked suspect under the high ball after Philip Sami couldn’t claim a chip into the corner from George Williams and AJ Brimson picked up the ball from an offside position.

The Raiders couldn’t make the field position count however and the Gold Coast held firm.

In the 14th minute, it looked as though the Titans had scored the first try though as they peppered the Raiders line for a small time.

Tanah Boyd kicked along the floor into the corner and Sami made up for his earlier error, picking the ball up on the bounce and dotting down.

It took the Raiders just five minutes to equalise as Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad threw a double pump to dragged the Titans defenders in onto Curtis Scott but the ball went out to Nick Cotric on the wing to dive over.

In the 25th minute, Canberra extended their lead after Jack Wighton wrapped around Elliot Whitehead to receive the ball out the back.

He then released Jordan Rapana, who returned the ball to Wighton back on the inside to pick up the Raiders second.

After Nicoll-Klokstad won a set restart right in front of the posts, Canberra sped up their attacking play.

This allowed Wighton to catch the Gold Coast off guard by stepping inside and just doing enough to regather the ball after losing control and scoring.

The Raiders weren’t finished with scoring in the first half as Tom Starling picked up from dummy-half just two metres out, dummied, and stepped inside Nathan Peats for his first NRL-try.

Brimson made a break, through the middle of the Raiders defence with a minute to go until the break, but after passing back inside to Corey Thompson, the winger was tackled, but they did manage to pick up a goal-line drop-out.

Moeaki Fotuaika had the ball in hand in the final seconds but knocked on and the half came to a close.

HALF-TIME: Gold Coast Titans 4-22 Canberra Raiders

The opening ten minutes of the second half was niggy between the two ides, but a charging run from Jordan Rapana put the Raiders on the front foot, and John Bateman kicked ahead to force a goal-line drop-out.

Jamal Fogarty claimed the fifth tackle kick from Williams and sprinted upfield after a quick 20-metre tap.

It looked as though the half-back was clear but he didn’t count on a desperate ankle tap from Josh Papalii to bring him to the floor.

Fogarty also dropped the ball as he fell to the floor and the Raiders came away unscathed.

The Titans did manage to pick up the first points of the second half though, as, with 25 minutes to go, AJ Brimson collected an offload of Jamal Fogarty off the floor, and despite a little juggle, beat the tackle of Croker to score.

Just shy of the hour mark, the Raiders pushed their lead back out to 18 points as Starling popped a short pass to Hudson Young who ran straight over the top of Fotuaika.

After Young Tonumaipea cleaned up a fifth tackle kick from Williams, the Titans looked to play expansive from inside their own 20-metre line.

Scott shot up quickly on Sami which meant he rushed his pass and Cotric picked it off and raced in for his double

With eight minutes to go, it looked as though Rapana had picked up a try himself following a ball strip from Dunamis Lui, but the ball was knocked on by Lui in the strip and Rapana also dropped the ball on grounding.

The Titans picked up a third, as a break from Sam Lisone allowed Boyd to play the ball quickly and Tyrone Peachey pushed the ball to Keegan Hipgrave who crashed under the posts to score.

Fogarty converted to make it 16-34 with six minutes to go.

Straight from kick-off, Fogarty was penalised for obstruction, this allowed Corker to add two points from his boot and push the Raiders back out to a 20-point lead.

The Titans failed to make any more headway in the final stages and the Raiders moved into the top four.

FULL-TIME: Gold Coast Titans 16-36 Canberra Raiders


Squads


Gold Coast Titans

Brimson, Sami, Kelly, Tanumaipea, Thompson, Boyd, Fogarty, Wallace, Peats, Jolliffe, Hipgrave, Stone, Fotuaika

Interchanges: Peachey, Lisone, Fermor, Whitbread

Tries: Sami, Brimson, Hipgrave

Goals: Fogarty (2/3)


Canberra Raiders

Nicoll-Klokstad, Rapana, Croker, Scott, Cotric, Wighton, Williams, Tapine, Havili, Sutton, Bateman, Whitehead, Harawira-Naera

Interchanges: Papalii, Lui, Young, Starling

Tries: Cotric (2), Wighton (2), Starling, Young

Goals: Croker (6/7)


Referee: C. Butler

Touch Judges: L. Kennedy, D. Oultram

Video Referee: B. Galea


Image Source: @NRL (twitter)

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