Canberra Raiders defeat Sydney Roosters in grand final rematch

Canberra Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton

In the Grand Final replay from 2019, it was the Raiders who came away with the victory 24-20 over their fierce rivals.

Down on troops, the Raiders dug deep to end the Roosters 10-match winning streak at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

This was the Raiders first match at the historic venue since their first Grand Final appearance in 1987 and they showed why there are genuine premiership contenders with a gutsy display.

A key match-up in this mouth-watering encounter was the battle of the five-eighths.

Jack Wighton proved the difference with a great display for the Green Machine.

Early on, it was a battle of the big men in the middle trying to gain ascendancy and field position for their team.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Josh Papalii were very strong for their respective teams in the early exchanges even though Papalii left the game briefly for a HIA.

The first try of the match came from the Raiders prop forward Dunamis Lui after 11 minutes.

This was set up by a great run from Wighton who got a quick play the ball for Siliva Havili to use quick feet to off-load to Joseph Tapine.

Tapine delivered a good ball for Lui to crash over close to the posts.

Jarrod Croker converted the easy conversion for the Raiders to take the early lead of 6-0.

It did not take long for the Roosters to hit back and 4 minutes later Brett Morris who scores tries for fun crossed in the corner.

A Luke Keary pass found James Tedesco who then fooled Croker with a great right foot step threw a great ball to Morris who got the ball grounded in the corner.

Kyle Flanagan converted a great sideline conversion to tie the game up at 6-all.

It could have been 2 tries in 2 minutes for the Roosters but the Bunker correctly ruled a double knock on in the lead up.

A successful penalty goal to the Roosters for the Raiders being inside the 10 m on their goal-line gave the Roosters a 2 point lead.

Flanagan kicked the easy penalty goal to give the Roosters the lead for the first time in the game 8-6.

On the 30 minute mark and after a mountain of possession,Brett Morris scored his 2nd try for the match.

Flanagan threw a great cut out pass to find Morris to score his 162nd career try.

Flanagan missed the sideline conversion for the Roosters to lead 12-6 and this ended up being the half-time score.

Just like in the first half, the Raiders were the first to score in the 2nd half through Croker.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad put in a great left foot grubber into the Roosters in-goal and found open space.

Croker proved to be too quick to pounce on the rolling ball to score for the Raiders.

Croker converted his own try to tie the game up again. 12-all with over 35 minutes remaining.

From near the posts, Flanagan was never going to miss the kick and the Roosters take the lead back at 14-12.

4 minutes later and out of nothing, Williams scored a great individual try.

With great footwork and strength, he beat Jake Friend and Tedesco to score adjacent to the uprights.

Croker converted the easy conversion from in front for the Raiders to take the lead 18-14.

The Roosters did not drop their bundle and from a Raiders mistake, they scored through Matt Ikuvalu 3 minutes later.

Good lead up work by Keary and Tesdeco got the ball to Josh Morris who performed a great flick pass to give Ikuvalu his 6th try in the past 2 games.

Flanagan again converted the try for the Roosters to lead again 20-18.

A big turning point of the match was the Raiders successfully winning a challenge on an escort call.

They received the penalty close to their goal-line instead of defending their line after conceding points not long before.

From this the Raiders got down the other end from a Roosters error on half-way for a bulldozing Papalii to score underneath the goal-posts.

Papalii hit a great hole from a clever pass from Tom Starling to sprint 20m to score.

Croker converted the simple conversion for the Raiders to take a handy lead of 24-20.

The Roosters tried hard to get back good field position but unforced errors in their own end were not helping their cause.

The Raiders were able to hang on for a well-deserved victory over the 2 time defending premiers.

They were certainly up for this match even though they had 6 regular first grade players out.

Croker was very pleased after the match saying this was “one of the better wins in his whole time at the club especially with all our injuries and missing some leaders of our club”

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Jack Wighton

2 – Luke Keary

1 – Josh Papalii

Sydney Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary

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