Josh Hodgson’s eagerly anticipated return to the NRL inspired Canberra Raiders to a 48-12 victory over Wests Tigers having been 12-4 down before Hodgson entered the fray.
Canberra started well when Joey Leuilua got on the outside of Mahe Fonua. But Wests replied to take the lead. Chris Lawrence went straight through a gap in the middle of the Raiders defence off a dummy-half pass.
Corey Thompson reached out to score and extend Wests lead to eight soon after.
Josh Hodgson, now on the field, provided an easy try for Josh Papalii while Blake Austin spent time in the bin for the Raiders after committing a professional foul
Canberra completed the comeback after half-time. Joseph Tapine and Nick Cotric both scored in the opening 15 minutes of the game to give Canberra a 22-12 advantage.
Another try for Canberra was created by Hodgson, this time it was Tapine who benefitted to score his second. Blake Austin then went straight up the middle and Michael Oldfield crossed in the corner to finish the game as a contest.
Leilua added a second off a Jack Wighton kick and Liam Knight showed good feet to score from ten metres out to round off a resounding Raiders win.
Wests: Thompson, Watene-Zelzniak, Marsters, Fonua, Naiqama, Gamble, Brooks, Packer, McIlwrick, Matulino, Lawrence, Rochow, Eisenhuth; Interchanges: Taylor, Twal, Aloiai, Grant
Tries: Lawrence, Thompson; Goals: Marsters 2
Raiders: Wighton, Cotric, Croker, Leilua, Oldfield, Austin, Sezer, Lui, Havili, Boyd, Tapine, Whitehead, Papalii; Interchanges: Soliola, Hodgson, Bateman, Knight
Tries: Leilua 2, Papalii, Tapine 2, Cotric, Austin, Oldfield, Knight; Goals: Croker 6
Sin-bin: Austin (23) – professional foul
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.