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Opinion

Pearce and Ponga combo prove too much for Raiders

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Roar Guru
7th June, 2020
16

The Knights sit second on the NRL ladder after a 34-18 win over the Raiders.

Canberra lost Jack Wighton in the last 20 minutes due to a head injury assessment, but the five-eighth managed to score a try off a George Williams low bomb kick when he was on the field.

Williams otherwise continued his good form with two try assists, both coming off low bomb kicks to Wighton and Nick Cotric.

Kalyn Ponga proved his $1.1 million price tag in a marvellous game, playing 74 minutes for one try and two try assists and running 275 metres for eight tackle breaks and one line break with one error.

Enari Tuala was awarded a penalty try after he was taken out by Wighton, with Bradman Best and Edrick Lee both managing to score two tries each, with the former also recording two try assists.

Mitchell Pearce was very good, with 16 kicks for 424 metres and 27 tackles, and five-eighth Kurt Mann had a great running game, with 147 metres and 24 kick metres.

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Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad’s running game was also very good, with 201 metres, and prop Josh Papalii scored a try and ran for 143 metres.

Canberra Raiders finished with 51 per cent possession and 30 of 39 sets completed but missed 32 tackles to the Knights’ 20. The Raiders also made the most errors with 13 to seven.

I wrote an article in April asking if the Knights are premiership favourites. I received plenty of sceptical comments, but now the Knights sit second on the ladder and are proving they can compete against the top sides, not least after this confident victory over last year’s grand finalists.

What would really seal the deal is a win against the in-form Melbourne Storm next week. Kalyn Ponga versus Ryan Papenhuyzen will be electric, and if the Knights were to beat the Storm next week, there could be no doubt they’ll be at the business end of the season and go deep into the finals.

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