Another sluggish second half from the Canberra Raiders condemned them to a 24-16 loss to the Newcastle Knights at McDonald’s Park in Wagga Wagga.
The Raiders led 16-0 at the break but were completely overrun in the second half to drop their fifth straight match.
Playing their first home game in Wagga Wagga since 2019, the Raiders got off to a great start dominating the forward battle.
It didn’t translate to tries but the Raiders managed two penalty goals in the first 15 minute to build a 4-0 lead.
It took until the 30th minute for the Raiders to finally crack the Knights line with Joe Tapine crossing.
Bailey Simonsson scored the Raiders second right before half time to give them a 16-0 lead at the break.
So much has been spoken about the Raiders second half troubles in recent weeks and they got off to the worst possible start yet again with the Knights getting the ball back from a short kick off and scoring an easy try to make it 16-6 after 43 minutes.
Raiders fans would have sensed what was about to happen with the side falling into bad habits and allowing the Knights right back into the contest.
Tries to Kalyn Ponga and Tyson Frizell gave the Knights a two-point lead and all the momentum with just over 10 minutes remaining.
The Raiders tried to mount a late comeback but just had no answers yet again as the Knights scored a late try to seal the 24-16 win.
Canberra have now been outscored 93-8 in second halves over their five-match losing streak in an extremely worrying sign for the club as their season continues to get away from them.
Early injuries to forwards Ryan Sutton and Joe Tapine certainly didn’t help the Raiders chances but can’t be used as an excuse for such a poor second 40.
The under-pressure Raiders now head up to Brisbane for Magic Round where they take on the Bulldogs on Saturday 15 May at Suncorp Stadium.
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