Raiders cruise past Penrith 24-12 in NRL
Canberra fullback Reece Robinson starred in his side’s 24-12 NRL win over Penrith on Saturday, while his twin brother Travis had a night to forget.
Reece earned man-of-the-match with a try and several desperate runs out of his in-goal, while Travis was taken off by Penrith coach Ivan Cleary midway through the first half after two bombs to his wing led to the Raiders’ opening two tries.
“He (Travis) was a bit unlucky out there, a few bad little things,” Reece said.
“He’s just got to be a bit more confident I think.”
The dominant display in front of a crowd of 9,176 was the Raiders’ 10th straight win at Canberra Stadium.
Josh Papalii (143m) couldn’t have done much more to press his Maroons State of Origin claims, the Raiders keeping their completion rate up around 80 per cent and their natural talent did the rest.
Canberra burst out of the blocks, with Blake Ferguson outleaping Penrith winger Robinson in the third minute to open the scoring from a Terry Campese bomb.
Continued high balls to a hesitant Travis Robinson again paid dividends minutes later when he failed to clean up a Campese rainmaker, allowing his twin Reece to score from the ensuing scrum.
“It was a game plan that we wanted to bomb their back three, (because) we’ve got our big jumpers,” Campese said.
“It’s something that we’ve been working towards and tonight it came off.”
But Penrith managed to hit back in the 29th minute when winger David Simmons crossed to take the score to 12-6.
The Raiders were then the recipients of an incredible stroke of luck when halfback Josh McCrone threw a pass into the head of Papalii, cleaned up the loose ball and dived over to lead 18-6 heading into the break.
Raiders interchange Paul Vaughan was held up over the line after the break, but wouldn’t be denied twice, carrying three defenders with him in the 58th minute to score his first NRL try.
The desperate Panthers started throwing the ball around late into the match with Simmons scoring his second to earn a late consolation try.
“I thought our scrambling defence was outstanding tonight,” Campese said.
“Only to let in that last try in the last five minutes was a credit to the way we practised throughout the week.”
Cleary said his side’s slow start had cost them.
“Makes it hard you know. We were just a bit off the pace at the start of the game,” he said.
Raiders centre Jarrod Croker had another perfect night with the boot and the club believes he’ll be fit to play next week after limping off in the second half.© AAP 2014