The rapidly improving Canberra Raiders were far too strong for an injury-depleted Gold Coast Titans this morning at the Cbus Super Stadium, winning 42-16 with the help of a first-half hat-trick from the NRL’s form winger Jordan Rapana, who is himself a former Titan.
The Raiders scored two more first-half tries from Jack Wighton and Joseph Leilua, with Aidan Sezer adding three goals to give them a 26-10 interval lead against the Titans, for whom Anthony Don and Karl Lawton had scored tries, with Ashley Taylor adding one goal.
The Titans had been hit 24 hours prior to kick-off by the withdrawals of Kevin Proctor (hamstring) and Chris McQueen (back), meaning they had $4 million of their $7 million salary cap sitting in the stands.
At the start of the second half they gave themselves some hope with a try by Taylor, which he improved himself to make the score 26-16.
But that was as good as it got for the Titans, as the Raiders scored three more tries from Englishman Elliott Whitehead, Josh Papalli and impressive youngster Nick Cotric, with Sezer adding two more goals.
Titans: 19 Tyrone Roberts, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 1 Tyronne Roberts-Davis, 6 Kane Elgey, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 14 Karl Lawton, 10 Ryan James (C), 15 Chris Grevsmuhl, 13 Leivaha Pulu, 16 Max King; Interchange: 5 Daniel Vidot, 9 Ryan Simpkins, 18 Morgan Boyle, 20 Paterika Vaivai.
Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (C), 4 Joseph 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, 17 Joseph Tapine; Interchange: 13 Iosia Soliola, 14 Adam Clydsdale, 15 Luke Bateman, 16 Clay Priest.
A full review of all the weekend’s NRL action will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express