Canberra Raiders winger Jordan Rapana

They may not have had the best start but at home, the North Queensland Cowboys are usually pretty good. Not today, as the Canberra Raiders manhandled them to win.

The five tries to two victory for the Raiders saw them continue their impressive start to the year, now sitting at three wins and one loss.

The Raiders burst out of the blocks and pounced on a Javid Bowen error just four minutes in.

Nick Cotric was on hand to finish, with the winger scoring in the corner.

Poor Bowen had a turbulent opening period, as a fumble this time, led to a second Raiders try.

This try would go to Jordan Rapana who went on to have a stellar performance.

Try as they might to create some attacking spark soon after, errors let the Cowboys down.

Luckily for them, the Raiders were also making silly mistakes of their own and failing to pile on the pressure even more.

Their tenacity was on show but their lack of execution cost them until the 31st minute.

Just like the old Thurston and Cooper combination had people excited, Michael Morgan became the provider this time for the back-rower.

In perhaps his best game in Raiders colours, the Raiders third try was all set up by Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad.

His ball-work led to a break for Rapana, who kicked infield for Joey Leilua to score under the posts.

At 16-6 heading into half-time, things looked cruisy for the Raiders.

A further penalty goal early in the second half extended the Raiders lead to 12.

Morgan was again involved in the Cowboys second; this time finding John Asiata who simply flopped over the line.

There very nearly could have been more, but the Cowboys lack of execution yet again reared its ugly head.

That would prove costly, as a left-side play saw Jarrod Croker score.

Finding Cotric on his outside, the winger made the break and passed back infield to his centre to score.

Rapana would grab his second soon after when showed his dazzling skills to break the Cowboys defence and their spirits.

With many experienced players at his disposal, it was his veterans that pleased Raiders coach Ricky Stuart the most.

“Some experienced representative players in your squad is really beneficial because they’ve played big games and they’re good players,” he said.

“You get into scenarios where you need their experience and ability, and they get you over the line.

“I thought Ryan Sutton was probably one of our best.

“I was really impressed with Ryan’s game, he carried tough and made some really big efforts in defence when he had to.”

Cowboys coach Paul Green was in no mood to beat around the bush.

If his players continue to perform badly, the axe will continue to fall.

“If guys just aren’t doing their job, we’ve got to find some blokes that can,” he said strongly.

“You can’t keep tossing up performances like that and expect to keep your position.

“Our starts are putting us under pressure, we’re just not consistent enough at the moment.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Jordan Rapana

2. Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad

  1. Joey Leilua

By ricky

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