The Gold Coast Titans travelled to Canberra today as both sides looked to impress in early at GIO Stadium.
The Raiders started fast as well with Jack Wighton picking up the ball at first receiver and stepping back inside the Titans line to pick up the first try after just 3 minutes.
After an extremely frantic first 10 minutes with fast play the balls and a few errors, the game settled down with the Green Machine in control of the early stages.
Two quick-fire penalties from the Titans, gave Canberra a good chance to pick up a second and that’s exactly what happened.
An offload from Corey Horsburgh was loose and the bouncing ball was picked up by Wighton. The strong five-eighth then accelerated through the Gold Coast defence to score.
Both tries were converted by Jarrod Croker to make it 12-0 and also picked up his 2000th NRL point, making him only the seventh players to reach the milestone.
He is also the youngest ever player to reach 2000, and also the third fastest.
Just as the Titan’s were looking to get a grip of the game by getting close to the Raiders line, a poor pass from Mitch Rein to Sam Lisone drifted forward to shut down that attack.
Gold Coast found themselves up on the Canberra once more a few minutes laters but after trying to run the ball Nick Cotric tackled Dale Copley to snuff out the attack on the last.
With four Englishman on show in the game, it was also likely one of them would make an impact on the game.
It was debutant George Williams who made the break, after picking up an offload from Cotric, and when tackled, seemed to released the ball backwards for Croker to pick up and slide over.
Unfortunately for the former Wigan Warriors’ half, the Bunker deemed that Williams knocked the ball on and the try was disallowed.
The Raiders were in the mood for more tries, and just before the half hour mark, they picked up a third.
This time it wasn’t Wighton, but it was a charging run from Emre Guler over the try line which extended Canberra’s lead as the prop scored his first ever NRL try.
A fourth try looked to follow quickly, as the Raiders were dominating the Titans.
After forcing a goal-line drop out through the boot of Wighton, Ricky Stuart’s side hammered the Gold Coast tryline.
Once again, George Williams, skipped inside and raced towards the line, this time he was brought down and was held up just over the line.
The Titan’s came close to pulling a score back with a kick from Tyrone Roberts which Tyrone Peachey was close to grounding but the ball went dead to relieve the Raiders.
HALF-TIME: Canberra Raiders 18-0 Gold Coast Titans
The domination from Canberra seemed to fade slightly as the Gold Coast looked to score. Unfortunately Anthony Don couldn’t hold onto the ball as Wighton came across to make the cover tackle.
The Don did manage to get his try just a minute later though, as the Titans worked the ball down the right edge and the winger stepped back across the grain and dived over the line.
With 30 minutes of the game to go, there was plenty of time for the Titan’s to get back into game, and were putting some serious pressure on the Raiders in both defence and attack.
Unfortunately, another error with the ball from Mitch Rein relieved that pressure instantly.
The momentum quickly shifted the Raiders way as a Bryce Cartwright kick was caught in the air by Elliott Whitehead who linked up with Croker to charge down field.
Some ill-discipline from the Titans gave Canberra the chance to close the game out and they were punished for their errors.
A beautiful pass from Guler onto the on-rushing Whitehead allowed the English back-rower to dive over the desperate tackle of Bryce Cartwright to extend the lead.
Coming up to the end of the game, the Green Machine looked to contain the Titans but a penalty against Joseph Tapine pushed the visitors deep inside the opposition half.
A forward pass from Bryce Cartwright put paid to the idea of any chance of a comeback with just six minutes left of the game.
Cartwright then made yet another error with a knock-on just five metres from the Canberra line.
The remainder of the game was scrappy with both sides conceding penalties and making errors, which meant the game couldn’t get going as time ticked by with the Raiders picking up the two points.
FULL-TIME: Canberra Raiders 24-6 Gold Coast Titans
Nicoll-Klokstad, Simonsson, Croker, Scott, Cotric, Wighton, Williams, Papalii, Hodgson, Lui, Horsburgh, Whitehead, Tapine.
Interchanges: Havili, Guler, Soliola, Oldfield.
Tries: Wighton (2), Guler, Whitehead
Goals: Croker (4/4)
Gold Coast Titans
Sami, Don, Watkins, Peachey, Copley, Roberts, Taylor, Wallace, Rein, Lisone, Proctor, Cartwright, Arrow
Interchanges: Peats, Whitbread, Kelly, Jolliffe
Goals: Taylor (1/1)