The Canberra Raiders fought back hard in the latter stages of the game against the Dragons in the ACT tonight to get home 21-14 on the back of a Lincoln Withers led revival. The Raiders getting two second-half tries through the re-recruited Joel Monaghan and the the lead proved enough to kill off the inconsistent Dragons.
Canberra local Monaghan capped his first home game back with the Raiders following three seasons with the Sydney Roosters with a try-saving catch in the 60th minute that helped ensure the victory.
The loss is a setback for the Dragons, who earned their first win of the season against Gold Coast last week, their woes compounded by a biting report against interchange forward Jarrod Saffy.
Canberra half-back Todd Carney made the complaint against Saffy in the first half, although replays were inconclusive.
Carney said he was willing to front the judiciary to repeat his allegation.
“I hit him around the chest and tried to rotate him and my hand must have been around his mouth,” Carney said.
“I reckon it will be pretty obvious on the video. Obviously if it’s that clear on the TV and the judiciary needs me obviously I’d have to go.”
Raiders skipper Alan Tongue backed Carney’s claim.
“He said it straight away and there were marks on his arms,” Tongue said.
“I don’t think he was lying about that one.”
Underfire Dragons coach Nathan Brown was philosophical about his side’s second loss in three weeks.
“You do what you do and things will work out,” Brown said, before praising his side for “hanging in”.
“We are not going to make any drastic changes.”
Brown was, however, mildly critical of Chase and Soward.
“Our young halves float in (to) the game and out (of) the game,” he said.
For the Raiders, centre Phil Graham was helped off the ground with a serious ankle injury in the opening half, while utility forward Lincoln Withers was placed on report by referee Gavin Badger for a late and high shot on Rangi Chase in the 72nd minute.
The Dragons dominated the opening exchanges, skipping out to a 10-0 lead.
St George Illawarra winger Jason Nightingale starred early, plucking a deft cross-field chip from half-back Jamie Soward out of the sky and falling over the line.
Nightingale bagged another four-pointer late in the half when he again showcased outstanding aerial skills off the back of a Chase bomb.
But lazy defence close to their line cost them with Raiders prop Troy Thompson bashing his way over for a try and five-eighth Terry Campese also scampering over in the opening 40 minutes.
The Dragons still led 14-12 at the break, but it was all Canberra in the second half as they earned their second victory from three games this season.
The Raiders forwards, led by Michael Weyman, laid an impressive foundation for the halves pairing of Carney and Campese to swing the ball from side-to-side all night long.
At the back, Bronx Goodwin passed the test of replacing ace youngster William Zillman, showing safe hands under the high ball and a willingness to put his body on the line.
Carney sealed the win with a 78th minute field goal.