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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Undermanned Raiders come back to beat Bulldogs

The Canberra Raiders have snapped their five-match losing streak with a gutsy 20-18 victory over the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium.

Jack Wighton spent 10 minutes in the sin bin and Josh Papalii was sent off with 20 minutes to go, but the Raiders dug deep and found a way to record a much-needed victory.

It was a tight start to the match before George Williams pierced the Bulldogs line with a step, he then found Caleb Aekins who offloaded to Corey Harawira-Naera to score his first try of the season and make it 6-0.

The Raiders defence held strong in the first half and a Williams penalty goal had Canberra up 8-0 at the break.

Given the Raiders recent second half collapses, Canberra fans would have been thinking the worst when former Raider Nick Cotric crossed in the 48th minute to make it 8-6.

Things got even worse for Canberra with Wighton sent to the bin for a cannonball tackle in the 53rd minute and the Bulldogs took full advantage.

Nick Meaney sliced through some average defence to put the Bulldogs in front 12-8 after 56 minutes.

With 20 minutes to go, Papalli put a high shot on Tui Katoa and was sent off under the NRL’s strict new rules.

Down on the scoreboard and players on the field, Canberra was staring down the barrel of a sixth straight loss.

However, the Raiders showed plenty of character as Curtis Scott forced his way through a hole in the defence to plant the ball down in the corner. The Williams sideline conversion put the Raiders back in front 14-12 after 68 minutes.

A six-again call on the next set gave Canberra another chance to score and an Aekins pass put Seb Kris through to make it 20-12.

The Bulldogs added a late try to give themselves one last chance with half a minute remaining but knocked on as they tried to come up with a match winning play deep in their own half.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: Curtis Scott of the Raiders celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the round 10 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Canberra Raiders at Suncorp Stadium, on May 15, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
Curtis Scott pumped up after scoring a try in the second half. Getty

It was a desperately needed win for the Green Machine as they try to resurrect their season, but they will need to improve drastically when they take on the Storm on Saturday 22 May at GIO Stadium.

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