Canberra Raiders keep finals hopes alive

Jordan Rapana scored a hat-trick for Canberra Raiders as they defeated Newcastle Knights comfortably 46-28 to keep their top-8 hopes alive for another week.

Canberra started the game on top with Junior Paulo and Jarrod Croker notching within six minutes. Two penalty goals and a conversion from Croker meant Canberra were 14-0 up after 17 minutes.

Newcastle’s up turn in form however meant that they had the capability to come back in to the game and they did with a try for the recently captured Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Jamie Buhrer. A Trent Hodkinson conversion gave the Raiders only a slender four point advantage.

Two converted tries for the home side stretched their lead before half time to 16. Jack Wighton and Jordan Rapana going over for Canberra.

Despite an early reply for the Knights through Daniel Saifiti after half-time, two more tries for Rapana and a Blake Austin try sealed the win for the Raiders despite late Mitchell Barnett and Kenny-Dowall tries for Newcastle.

Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker, 4 Joseph Leila, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Junior Paulo, 9 Josh Hodgson, 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Josh Papalii, 12 Joseph Tapine, 13 Elliot Whitehead; Interchanges: 14 Kurt Baptiste, 15 Clay Priest, 16 Dave Taylor, 17 Luke Bateman

Tries: Paulo, Croker, Wighton, Rapana 3, Austin; Goals: Croker 9

Knights: 1 Nathan Ross, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Dane Gagai, 4 Peter Mata’utia, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6 Jack Cogger, 7 Trent Hodkinson, 8 Daniel Saifiti, 12 Jamie Buhrer, 15 Mickey Paea, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 14 Joe Wardle, 13 Mitchell Barnett; Interchanges: 9 Danny Levi, 10 Josh King, 16 Sam Stone, 17 Jacob Saifiti

Tries: Kenny-Dowall 2, Buhrer, D Saifiti, Barnett; Goals: Hodkinson 4

Full coverage of all the weekend’s NRL matches will feature in Monday’s issue of League Express, available in the shops and online from Sunday evening.