Canberra has denied the Vodafone Junior Warriors a chance to stay in touch with the top eight sides winning today's 20th-round NYC clash 24-14 at GIO Stadium.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors had all the stats against them yet, despite the odds, they still went to halftime with a 10-8 lead through well-taken tries to front rower Kenese Kenese and centre Junior Pauga.
The second half produced a different story, though, as the Raiders – a big side – began to turn their physical and statistical ascendancy into points, scoring two tries in the opening minutes of the spell to leap into a 16-10 lead.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors countered when second rower Marata Niukore was too much for the Raiders’ left edge defence to handle, his try leaving the contest poised at 16-14 in the home side’s favour with 26 minutes to play.
It didn’t last, however, with Canberra going 24-14 clear through tries to left wing Jack Hickson and hooker Zac Woolford. They couldn’t convert one try leaving the Vodafone Junior Warriors with a glimmer of hope but they couldn’t arrange a response.
Earlier a nice flat ball put the big man Kenese over for the first try after five minutes and a 6-0 lead. After the Raiders hit back twice, some lovely ball movement including a slick flick-on from fullback Kane Telea created space for Pauga to score.
Quite apart from their sheer size, the Raiders also had real dominance in the possession stakes completing 30 of 35 tries while the Vodafone Junior Warriors completed just 23 of 30 sets. The home side translated that edge into a marked advantage in metres gained (1640-1140).
It doesn’t get any easier for the Kelvin Wright-coached side with its next outing against the NYC’s table-topping Panthers at Mount Smart Stadium next Saturday.
Match details | GIO Stadium, Canberra
Canberra Raiders 24 (Nick Cotric 2, Jack Hickson 2, Jack Murchie, Zac Woolford tries).
Vodafone Junior Warriors 14 (Kenese Kenese, Junior Pauga, Marata Niukore tries; Kane Telea conversion).
Halftime: 10-8 Vodafone Junior Warriors.
Referee: Phil Henderson.
Vodafone Junior Warriors | Kane Telea; Preston Riki, Melino Fineanganofo, Junior Pauga, Matt Faitotoa; Chanel Harris-Tavita, Eiden Ackland; Kenese Kenese, Sheldon Pitama (c), Chris Sio; Jerome Mamea, Marata Niukore; Joseph Price. Interchange: Joseph Vuna, Tyler Mohi, Isaiah Papalii, Mattais Heimuli.