NYC Rd 18 Melbourne 34 Canberra 30
A late raid wasn't enough for the Canberra Raiders NYC team against the Melbourne Storm, falling 34-30 in a highly entertaining clash.by NRL
A late raid wasn't enough for the Canberra Raiders NYC team against the Melbourne Storm, falling 34-30 in a highly entertaining clash.
The Raiders trailed 30-6 early in the second half but fought back with some good attacking football, only to fall just short of a miracle comeback.
The Raiders started very strong, with Matt Allwood streaking away in the first minute off a Michael Chee Kam offload, only for it to be called back for a forward pass.
A Storm error gave them another chance in the opening five minutes, and they wouldn't waste this one as Anthony Milford continued his impressive start to an NYC career, coming from what seemed like nowhere to plant down a Mitch Cornish grubber with three Storm players standing over the ball, establishing a 6-0 lead in the 5th minute.
But some simple errors put the Storm back into the game and they laid on the next three tries for an 18-6 lead. Young Tonumaipea grabbed the first off a good ball from Ben Hampton in the 13th minute, before the Storm halfback picked up a loose ball and ran 70m, offloading to Richard Kennar to put the home side in front 12-6 in the 20th minute.
Rhys Kennedy made it 18-6 in the 26th minute when he dummied through the defensive line and stretched out to score and the Storm looked as though they were on a roll.
The Raiders did almost strike straight back, as Allwood forced an error from the kick-of which was followed by Milford steaming into a gap and scoring, but the play was called back for a forward pass.
The Storm went close twice before the break, spilling the ball over the line once before Chee Kam pulled off a try-saving tackle and then one-on-one strip on Matt Constantinou as he looked to score, keeping the score at 18-6 at half time.
The Storm's momentum continued in the second half however, with Mahe Founa and Ben Meehan both grabbing tries in the first ten minutes after the break to extend their lead to 30-6.
It didn't dent the Raiders confidence though, hitting straight back in the 53rd minute through Simon Lienesch. Going down a short side, some good hands by Milford got Malcome Congoo clear, and he atoned for an earlier error by streaking down the touchline and producing the perfect chip kick for Lienesch to pick up and score out wide, closing the gap to 30-10.
It sparked the Raiders, who continued to work down the left hand side through Milford, and on the end of another break by Lienesch, Jack Ahearn split the defence and scored under the posts to further close the gap to 30-16 in the 58th minute.
Unfortunately the fight back was halted by Kennar, who scored after an offload by Tohu Harris and some good hands by Mahe Fonua, extending their lead to 34-16 in the 63rd minute.
Johnathon Rueben grabbed one back for the Raiders in the 69th minute when he latched onto a grubber down the short side by Ben Picker, bringing the score back to 34-20.
It began a late surge as the Raiders attempted to steal the points late. Chee Kam crossed in the 72nd minute, using his strength to cross and narrow the gap to 34-24, before Allwood broke free and sent Reuben over for a second with a neat flick pass in the 78th minute, bringing the score to 34-30.
A desperate attacking raid from the next set almost succeeded, but the Raiders couldn't get across the line and the Storm held on for a 34-30 victory.
MELBOURNE STORM 34
(R Kennar 2, Y Tonumaipea, R Kennedy, M Founa, B Meehan Tries; J Joass 5/6 Goals)
CANBERRA RAIDERS 30
(J Reuben 2, A Milford, S Lienesch, J Ahearn, M Chee Kam Tries; A Milford 2/4, M Cornish 1/1, S Lienesch 0/1 Goals)
At AAMI Park
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