Bulldogs lose Graham, but still defeat Raiders

Canterbury Bulldogs may have lost captain James Graham and stand-off Josh Reynolds to first-half concussion and leg injuries respectively, but they showed great resolve to gain a 16-10 victory over Canberra Raiders today at ANZ Stadium.

Will Hopoate had come into the Bulldogs side at fullback, with Adam Elliot starting in the second row, Greg Eastwood moving back to the interchange and Matt Frawley also starting on the bench, while Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Marcelo Montoya dropped out.

Luke Bateman started at loose forward for Canberra with Joseph Tapine dropping back to the bench.

The depleted Bulldogs had trailed 10-4 at half-time but scored twice in the second half despite being reduced to a two-man bench, with Elliot scoring two tries and Josh Morris scoring the other, while the attacking potential the Raiders are noted for was largely absent in the second half.

Jarrod Croker and Josh Hodgson both scored first-half tries for the Raiders as they looked set for an easy night’s work, but the Bulldogs successfully attacked the Raiders’ right-side defence in the second half and Ricky Stewart’s team paid the price.

Bulldogs: 23 Will Hopoate , 2 Kerrod Holland, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Brenko Lee, 1 Brett Morris, 6 Josh Reynolds, 7 Moses Mbye, 8 Aiden Tolman, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 James Graham (c), 11 Josh Jackson, 16 Adam Elliott, 13 David Klemmer; Interchange: 12 Greg Eastwood, 14 Sam Kasiano, 15 Danny Fualalo, 20 Matt Frawley.

Tries: Elliot 2, J Morris; Goals: Holland 2

Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joey Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aiden Sezer, 8 Junior Paulo, 9 Josh Hodgson, 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Josh Papalii, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 15 Luke Bateman; Interchange: 13 Joseph Tapine, 14 Adam Clydsdale, 16 Clay Priest, 17 Iosia Soliola.

Tries: Croker, Hodgson; Goals: Croker

A full review of all the weekend’s NRL action will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express