The Canberra Raiders proved once again that they are genuine contenders in the 2019 competition, extending their winning streak to 4 games after a win over the Brisbane Broncos.
The Raiders win handed the Broncos their 4th straight loss at GIO Stadium on Easter Sunday.
The boys at home struck early in the game with Jarrod Croker offloading just a couple of metres from the sideline to Nick Cotric who scored in the corner.
The Broncos responded through Kodi Nikorima who capitalised off a poor defensive decision from Jack Wighton.
A decoy runner from the Broncos drew Wighton in as the halfback received the ball and scored in the gap left behind.
The stars from the Raiders all joined together for their teams next try giving fans every reason to clap.
It started with a great 25 metre run from the firing fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad who put his team in perfect scoring position.
The ball was then given to Wighton who zig-zagged his way across field before passing it astray to John Bateman.
Bateman showed off his skills as a potential footballer for England, with a kick for his centre Joseph Leilua who them steam rolled over Darius Boyd to score.
Just 90 seconds later, the centre was on his feet celebrating again.
English recruit Bateman carried defenders for nearly 10 metres then let out a sneaky offload to a flying Leilua who practically had no one to beat to score.
The home team went to the sheds holding on to a 10 point lead, however, not comfortably knowing how dangerous their visitors can be.
The Broncos were the first to strike in the second half, too.
David Fifita fooled Jarrod Croker and the camera man with an amazing dummy allowing him to break through the line and run 15 metres in open field to score.
6 minutes later, Anthony Milford put his team in front for the first time with a beautifully placed grubber right into the hands of Corey Oates for a try just in from the sideline.
Jamayne Issako found no problem converting and the Broncos held on to a tight 2 point lead.
They weren’t able to hang on for long though after Bateman saw himself as a hooker momentarily scoring from dummy half.
The Raiders extended their lead further with a messy try for fellow Englishman Ryan Sutton who capitalised off a head-butt try assist from Jack Wighton.
The Broncos attempted to claw their way back into the game with a Jack Bird try which Isaako was able to convert but they ran out of time and went down 26-22.
Despite what appeared to be a bad injury for Nicholl-Klokstad, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is confident he won’t miss any game time.
“It was a gutsy effort to stay out there,” Stuart said.
“He played the game quite physical and every time he’s involved with bringing the ball back it’s with a lot of collision and he handles it very well.
“We’ve got be smart about our preparation, we’re going up to a very heavy field next weekend, so we have to be smart.
“I don’t think he will miss [next week] the way he finished it [the win over Brisbane].”
Despite slumping to a 1-5 record, Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has implored fans to trust the process and the team.
“When you’re going through tough times, that’s when you really see who’s the rusted-on supporter and who’s dedicated to the cause,” Seibold said.
“This is an easy time for people to have a free shot at the Broncos.
“I’ve only been back there since December but whether it’s ex-players, supporters, members, it’s an easy time to have a crack at the club.
“The thing I’ve seen in my short time at the club is we have a resilient bunch in there (in the change rooms) and if people are willing to be patient through the tough times, they’ll get some joy.”
NRL News Man of the Match
3. John Bateman
2. Joseph Leilua
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad