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Trials 2013



The Canberra Raiders have remained undefeated throughout their three trials after disposing of last year’s Grand Finalists, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 22-18 tonight at Goulburn Workers Arena.
The match was played in miserable wet conditions however the crowd of 5000 plus passionate rugby league fans certainly got their money’s worth in a fiercely contested trial.
The Raiders’ victory was on the back of a superb second half after being down by two at halftime, with five-eighth Josh McCrone and halfback Sam Williams directing proceedings with class and precision.
The opening stanza was plagued by several handling errors as both sides adjusted to the wet conditions.
Canterbury adjusted the quicker of the two sides and opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Josh Reynolds sent a long ball out to Sam Perrett who ducked and weaved his way over the try line. Krisnan Inu then did particularly well to slot the conversion from close to the sideline.
Perrett nearly had his second a few minutes later although Ben Barba’s pass was ruled forward.
A terrific shot in defence by Jake Foster then proved the catalyst for the Raiders’ reply. Foster’s hit forced the ball loose giving possession to the Green Machine.
From there, Sandor Earl was able to bat back a well-placed McCrone kick into the waiting arms of his centre partner Blake Ferguson who scored in the 33rd minute.
The conversion attempt went astray and the Bulldogs went into the break at 6-4.
Similar to the first half, the Bulldogs again opened the scoring in the second half Josh Morris latched onto a Kris Keating cross-field bomb to score. Inu converted to take Canterbury’s lead to 12-4.
After being one of the Raiders’ best in the first half, Blake Ferguson had several bouts of misfortune in the second. The first was sliding head first into the fence after attempting to ground the ball for a try. This left the talented centre fairly groggy and contributed to his substitution moments later.
The Raiders didn’t let Ferguson’s absence distract them from the task at hand though as McCrone brilliantly orchestrated the side’s next try.
Exuding superb vision, McCrone took the ball to the line, propped and then sailed a beautifully weighted kick into the thankful arms of Dimitri Pelo who scored in the 59th minute.
Four minutes later, big Tom Learoyd-Lahrs levelled scores after he crashed through the Bulldogs forwards to score from close range.
Ferguson’s replacement, former Australian Schoolboy representative Haydon Hodge then made a brilliant individual break before sending his winger, Sandor Earl, away for the match winning try.
Hodge and Earl combined shortly after when the pair cleaned up a Williams cross-field kick and sent Jarrad Kennedy over to seal the result for the Green Machine despite a late consolation try to the Bulldogs.
The 22-18 victory means that the Raiders have defeated both of last year’s Grand Finalists and leaves them full of confidence heading into round one against the Penrith Panthers.

3/3 in the pre-season :D 

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