A last minute try to the Raiders has given them a 32-28 win over the young pups in Canberra this afternoon.
After trailing 20-10 at half-time, the Bulldogs came back to take a two-point lead with 12 minutes remaining but it came to no avail with the final play of the match taking away all the good play.
There were a stack of changes to the side that was named earlier in the week with notable omissions being centre Michael Morgan and five-eighth Brendan Cox. Chris Cunningham and Alex Sorge were the men to come into the side.
An error in the Raiders red zone from Brad Keighran gave the home side possession deep in their own half and they went 90m through the middle of the field to score at the southern end through hooker Dylan McGrath. He was found on the inside after a mid-field break and he went over under the posts. Zac Woolford converted to give the green machine a 6-nil lead after nine minutes.
From the kick-off the Raiders again made a break that lead to points. They managed to exploit the young pups’ short side and on the following tackle it was spread to the right and Brenko Lee went over to score untouched. Woolford again converted with the lead out to 12-nil after as many minutes.
The blue and whites were having no fun in the nation’s capital with the Raiders crossing for their third try in the 17th minute. It was a smart piece of play this time with the Bulldogs defence jamming in, the cut out pass was thrown to winger Lachlan Hurst who went over to score. Woolford couldn’t convert from out wide with the score now 16-nil.
The tide turned soon after with the Bulldogs able to register their first points of the afternoon. It was a bust through the middle that had the home side on the back foot and in similar fashion to the Raiders second try, a shift was put on and winger Marcelo Montoya smartly cut back inside to cross over and score. Brad Keighran couldn’t convert with the score now 16-4 after 23 minutes.
Four minutes later, hooker Bronson Garlick crossed off the back of a smart ball from halfback Guy Hamilton. Hamilton held the ball up nicely on the last tackle and instead of taking the kick option, he took it to the line and sent Garlick through and over to score next to the left hand upright. Keighran converted on this occasion with the scoreboard now reading 16-10.
With a minute left in the first half the home side made a break and Hamilton managed to bring the man down but with the defence on the back foot, he was penalised and sent to the sin bin for holding down in the play the ball. Just two tackles after the restart, the Raiders went over through Lee, for his second of the afternoon. Woolford couldn’t convert with the Raiders leading 20-10 at the half-time break.
With Hamilton off the field the Bulldogs were able to muster a try through interchange forward Siaopo Tagaloa. Keighran converted to close the gap to 20-16 after 46 minutes.
The early second half try was cancelled out shortly after when Raiders back rower Jack Williams crossed in the 49th minute. Morgan Boyle took over the kicking duties and converted to extend the lead back out to 10 points, 26-16.
In the 64th minute and off the back of a penalty, the Raiders defence was reeling. It was interchange hooker Alex Sorge who took a dart from dummy half, split the markers and crashed over to score. Keighran converted with the scoreboard now reading 26-22.
Just minutes later the young pups hit the lead, with a converted try through Reubenn Rennie and Keighran. Some smart and speedy ball movement opened up the space and with Montoya running a good line and then able to get it back on the inside to Rennie to score. Keighran converted to give the blue and whites the lead for the first time in the match, 28-26 with 12 minutes remaining.
With just 90 seconds on the clock, the Raiders tore the hearts out from the young pups when Williams grabbed his second try of the afternoon. The defence held strong through until the final play and a bomb was put up in hope. Montoya couldn’t hold on to the ball and Williams caught the loose ball before falling over the line to score. Woolford converted as the full-time siren sounded, giving the home side a 32-28 win.
RAIDERS 32 (McGrath, Lee 2, Hurst, Williams 2 Tries; Woolford 3, Boyle 1 Goals)
BULLDOGS 28 (Montoya, Garlick, Tagaloa, Sorge, Rennie Tries; Keighran 4 Goals)
At: GIO Stadium, Canberra