Austin returns as Raiders secure comfortable victory over Eels

Canberra Raiders condemned the Parramatta Eels to their sixth straight defeat at the start of the season today, winning 18-2 in the Australian capital after being ahead 10-2 at half-time.

Raiders fullback Jack Wighton returned after missing last week’s game following the birth of his second child, while Nick Cotric reverted to the wing in place of Michael Oldfield. Blake Austin was recalled at stand-off for Sam Williams (knee) with Aidan Sezer moving to scrum-half. And in the Raiders pack Josh Papalii was recalled to the interchange bench after being dropped last week, replacing Liam Knight.

The Eels welcomed back fullback Clint Gutherson after an ACL reconstruction last year. He replaced Will Smith in the starting lineup, while speedster Bevan French returned to the wing in place of Josh Hoffman. Nathan Brown (ankle) was out of the side and was replaced by Tepai Moeroa, while Peni Terepo started at prop with Daniel Alvaro moving to the bench.

But, sadly for the Eels, none of those changes made any difference to the result, as the Raiders scored two early tries through Jordan Rapana and Austin, after a downpour, with Jarrod Croker converting the second touchdown.

The Eels replied with a penalty to Mitchell Moses shortly before the interval, but that would be their only score.

The Eels’ Daniel Alvaro and the Raiders’ Luke Bateman were both sinbinned at different points of the second half.

Croker added an early second-half penalty and the Raiders completed the scoring when Papalli forced his way over on 52 minutes, with Croker adding his third goal.

Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Iosia Soliola, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Junior Paulo, 11 Joseph Tapine, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Luke Bateman; Interchange: 14 Ata Hingano, 15 Shannon Boyd, 16 Josh Papalii, 17 Dunamis Lui

Tries: Rapana, Austin, Paplli; Goals: Croker 3

Eels: 1 Clint Gutherson, 2 George Jennings, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Kirisome Auva’a, 5 Bevan French, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Peni Terepo, 9 Kaysa Pritchard, 10 Tim Mannah (c), 11 Manu Ma’u, 17 Tony Williams, 13 Tepai Moeroa; Interchange: 14 Beau Scott, 15 Kenny Edwards, 16 Daniel Alvaro, Kane Evans

Goal: Moses 1

Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.