The Canberra Raiders have used a dominant second half to run away with a commanding 37-8 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
Jack Wighton led the way for the Raiders and was at his destructive best with two tries, his third double in four games.
The match started in a tough fashion with both sides muscling up in defence until debutant Cody Ramsey opened the scoring for the Dragons in the 16th minute to give his side a 4-0 lead.
The Raiders wasted no time in hitting back with Hudson Young crashing over from close range with Croker converting to put the Raiders ahead 6-4.
They would soon have their second after a kick from George Williams took a perfect bounce for Jordan Rapana who offloaded with the ball eventually finding Wighton who barged his way over to extend the Raiders lead to 12-4 after 26 minutes.
Cody Ramsey’s dream start to his career continued as he scored his second try late in the first half to keep the Dragons in it at 12-8.
Ramsey looked to have his hat trick right on half time after taking an intercept but much to the crowd’s dismay, the play was called back for offside and Croker kicked a penalty goal from the sideline to give Raiders a 14-8 lead at half time.
The Raiders were forced to do plenty of defending in the first half but it was a different story after half time as they ran in four tries to none.
It started in the 44th minute after a swift move down the left side saw Elliott Whitehead put a grubber through which Croker gathered to score his fourth try of the season.
Then it was John Bateman’s turn to score after Hudson Young sliced through the middle of the Dragons defence and found Bateman in support to score a simple try.
The Raiders were in the mood for more points and a lovely pass from Williams saw Wighton go over untouched and just like that the Raiders were up 30-8 after 62 minutes.
The final try of the match came after yet another Raiders move down the left edge which saw Semi Valemei cross over in the corner for the second try of his young career.
Williams put the icing on the cake with a field goal in the 77th minute to bring the final score to 37-8 and put the Raiders hot on the heels of the Parramatta Eels for a place in the top four.
Wighton was the star of the show once again for the Raiders but there were plenty of contributors including Young who ran for a game high 196 metres to go along with his try, while Joe Tapine got through a mountain of work as per usual.
The Raiders remain in 5th position on the ladder with just two rounds remaining and face off against the New Zealand Warriors at GIO Stadium next Sunday afternoon, 20 September.