NYC Rd 17 Canberra 30 Dragons 32
The Canberra Raiders under 20s side has missed out on the opportunity to seize first place on the Toyota Cup ladder after being run down by the St George Illawarra Dragons 32-30 at Canberra Stadium on Monday night.by NRL
The Canberra Raiders under 20s side has missed out on the opportunity to seize first place on the Toyota Cup ladder after being run down by the St George Illawarra Dragons 32-30 at Canberra Stadium on Monday night.
The Raiders were ahead for the majority of the game and led 26-6 with half an hour left in the contest, however, in the latter stages of the second half they were overrun by a spirited Dragons side led by NSW representative fullback Evander Cummins.
The Raiders were quick out of the blocks scoring their first try in the 4th minute through winger Malcolm Congoo to take an early 4-0 lead.
The Dragons struck back 16 minutes later when some fragile goal line defence by the young Raiders allowed Dragons half Sam Clune to cross for a simple converted try.
However, the Green Machine snatched the lead back in the 20th minute when a magic inside ball from half back Mitch Cornish saw Michael Chee Kam cross under the posts giving the home side a 10-6 advantage.
The highlight of the first half occurred in the 34th minute when rookie centre Anthony Milford used a combination of foot work and speed to slice his way through the Dragons' right hand defence running 70 metres before handing it off to Congoo to score his second try. Unfortunately, Mitch Cornish was unable to convert from out wide and at half time the Raiders led 14-6.
The Raiders opened the second half in a similar fashion to the first, with Milford once again exploiting deficiencies on the Dragons' right edge defence to score a converted try just two minutes after the resumption of play.
They extended their lead to 20 points in the 45th minute when fullback Mitch Cronin intercepted a wayward offload from a Dragons forward and sprinted 80 metres to score under the posts opening up a 26-6 score line.
The Dragons began their fight back in the 51st minute with two tries in quick succession to Cummins reducing the deficit to just eight points.
That was followed by a try to Raiders five eighth Jack Ahearn in the 65th minute which opened up a 12 point lead for the Green Machine. However, from that point on it was all the Dragons with the visitors scoring three unanswered tries in the last 10 minutes through Jared Allen, Charly Runciman and Trent Ryan to seal the victory.
The Raiders ensured a very tense finish to the game when they managed to retrieve the ball from the kick off, however, they were unable to capitalise from this opportunity.
Coach Andrew Dunemann was particularly frustrated with the loss.
"We were pretty poor all game," Dunemann said "We got smashed up the middle and I think our attitude probably just wasn't right.
"You don't mind losing if you get beaten by a better team but we kind of just gave that game to them."
Captain Cornish said he believed that the team needed to improve on its composure in the lead up to Saturday's game against the 11th placed Storm at AMMI Park.
"We need to learn not to panic when we get down to their [the opposition's] end of the field." Cornish said.
Despite the loss Dunemann was quick to praise the efforts of prop forward Jeff Lynch.
"I thought he [Lynch] was outstanding," Dunemann said "He really stood up in the middle and saved our bacon a few times in defence."
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 32
(E Cummins 2, S Clune, J Allen, C Runciman, T Ryan Tries; D Burke 4/6 Goals)
CANBERRA RAIDERS 30
(M Congoo 2, M Chee Kam, A Milford, M Cronin, J Ahearn Tries; A Milford 2/4, M Cornish 1/2 Goals)
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