Raiders scrap past Warriors in empty stadium


The Canberra Raiders have started the season with back-to-back wins after defeating a brave Warriors outfit, 20-6 on Saturday March 21, in hot conditions on the Gold Coast.

raiders celebrating after back-to-back tries
Sia Soliola celebrating after scoring a try in the 20-6 win over the Warriors

The game was played in an empty CBUS Super stadium after the Warriors were moved to Queensland amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

After a week of uncertainty, the Warriors decided to remain in Australia and be away from their families to allow the season to continue after New Zealand implemented strict travel restrictions.

Canberra started the match with several uncharacteristic mistakes, until a beautiful offload by Jarrod Croker saw Elliott Whitehead stroll over for the first try 21 minutes into the game.

The Raiders goal line defence was a standout in the first half as the Warriors had plenty of ball in their attacking 20 metres but could not capitalise and went into half-time trailing 6-0.

The Raiders started the second half on fire with Sia Soliola scoring off a perfectly placed Josh Hodgson grubber in the 43rd minute.

Then just three minutes later, Bailey Simonsson crossed in the corner to make it 16-0 after fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad made a 60 metre break up field.

Canberra seemed to have control of the match until the Warriors were awarded a penalty try to Kodi Nikorima in the 73rd minute.

In the dying minutes, the two new Raiders recruits combined to seal the match. George Williams put through a perfectly weighted kick which allowed Curtis Scott to score his first try for the Green Machine and make it 20-6.

The only sour note for Canberra was Sia Soliola being placed on report for a swinging arm on Adam Blair late in the first half.

After the full-time siren, Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson gathered both teams and expressed his respect and gratitude to the Warriors players for their sacrifice to keep the NRL season alive, at that point in time.

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