Canberra Raiders continued the wretched Warriors’ season with a 36-16 triumph in Auckland, keeping their top-eight hopes alive.
The Warriors were denied a try by Kiwi Four Nations international Solomone Kata after six minutes because of a knock-on and Canberra quickly scored at the other end of the pitch through boom winger Nick Cotric.
Captain Jarrod Croker then celebrated last week’s extension of his Canberra contract until the end of 2020 with yet another try – 106 in 210 appearances – to stretch the difference to 12 points, and Blake Austin’s try put them 18-6 at the break.
It was a tough second half, with Englishman Elliott Whitehead having a hand in two Canberra tries that sealed victory, before prodigy Cotric was across the tryline again for his 14th of the season.
This is the most by a Raiders’ player in his debut season since the Fijian flyer Noa Nadruka scored 22 in 1992.
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (C); 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Blake Ayshford, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo; 21 Ata Hingano, 7 Mason Lino; 8 Jacob Lillyman, 9 Nathaniel Roache, 15 Sam Lisone, 11 Bunty Afoa, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Simon Mannering. Subs: 10 Ben Matulino, 14 Issac Luke, 16 Isaiah Papali’i, 20 Chris Satae.
Tries: Fusitu’a, Tuivasa-Sheck, Papali’i; Goals: Lino 2
Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton; 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (C), 4 Joey Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana; 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer; 8 Junior Paulo, 9 Josh Hodgson, 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Josh Papalii, 12 Joe Tapine, 13 Elliott Whitehead. Subs: 14 Kurt Baptiste, 15 Clay Priest, 16 Dave Taylor, 17 Luke Bateman.
Tries: Cotric 2, Croker, Austin, Leilua, Rapana; Goals: Croker 6
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.