Aidan Sezer played a key role for the Canberra Raiders today as they defeated the St George Illawarra Dragons 18-14 with a golden-point try by Elliott Whitehead after Sezer’s magnificent 40-20 had created the position for former Catalans Dragons star Dave Taylor to charge at the defence and offload for the winning try.
The Raiders came into the game with an unchanged squad from 1 to 17.
The Dragons welcomed back Paul Vaughan and Josh Dugan, who both started the game, with Jason Nightingale shifting to the wing, Kurt Mann moving into the centres and Taane Milne dropping back to the bench. Jack de Belin moved to the bench, while Matthew Dufty and Blake Lawrie dropped out of the 17.
The Raiders opened the scoring after six minutes when Nick Cotric touched down, with Jarrod Croker goaling, but the Dragons replied when Nene Macdonald linked with Gareth Widdop who touched down to level the scores with his own conversion.
Joel Thompson had a try disallowed but soon afterwards Widdop sent Jason Nightingale over to give the Dragons a 10-6 lead after 22 minutes.
Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker then was unable to ground a Josh Hodgson grubber that should have led to a try.
In the second half Widdop added an early penalty to stretch the Dragons’ lead to six points, before, on 60 minutes, Aidan Sezer ran the length of the field to score the Raiders’ second try, with Croker’s conversion levelling the scores.
Croker and Widdop both added penalties as the game drifted towards golden-point time, when Sezer’s 40/20 transformed the outcome.
Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Junior Paulo, 9 Josh Hodgson, 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Josh Papalii, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Iosia Soliola; Interchange: 14 Kurt Baptiste, 15 Luke Bateman, 16 Dave Taylor, 17 Joseph Tapine
Tries: Cotric, Sezer, Whitehead; Goals: Croker 3
Dragons: 19 Josh Dugan, 2 Nene Macdonald, 5 Kurt Mann, 4 Timoteo Lafai, 1 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Josh McCrone, 8 Russell Packer, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Leeson Ah Mau, 11 Tariq Sims, 12 Joel Thompson, 21 Paul Vaughan; Interchange: 3 Taane Milne, 13 Jack de Belin, 14 Jacob Host, 16 Hame Sele
Tries: Widdop, Nightingale; Goals: Widdop 3
The next issue of League Express, which will be in the shops on Monday and available online on Sunday night, will also have full coverage of all the weekend’s NRL matches.