Toyota Cup: Raiders outmuscled by New Zealand
The Canberra Raiders NYC side were uncharacteristically outmuscled and outclassed as they fell victim to the first placed New Zealand Warriors 50-14 at Mount Smart Stadium today.
The young Raiders did not enjoy an ideal preparation as they were delayed for five hours at Sydney International Airport; however Coach David Hamilton is certain to make no excuses after his side has conceded one hundred points in consecutive weeks.
Whilst the result clearly conveyed the dominance of New Zealand and the reason they are leading the competition, it didn’t portray the heart shown by the inexperienced and youthful Canberra outfit. Hamilton revealed that 75% of the side will still be eligible for next year’s Toyota Cup side.
There’s no doubt that the Raiders came to play but the seasoned New Zealand side’s ability to complete their sets, size advantage and ability to offload ultimately were too much to handle for the Raiders.
The victory was built on the back of a thoroughly dominant first half in which the Warriors went into the break 30-0. The Warriors enjoyed 63 % of possession in the first half and made the most of it at a 91% completion rate which reaped five converted tries.
This forced the Raiders to complete 164 tackles compare to the Warriors’ 95 with Tom Murphy making 30 tackles alone in the first half. The long haired lock went on to make 49 for the match.
The size disadvantage and perpetual tackling by the brave Canberra forwards was evident by the fact that only one forward, Uiti Baker, was able to break the one hundred metres gained barrier with 121 metres from 10 carries.
The Warriors staunch defence kept the Raiders out until the 51st minute when Edrick Lee lifted his side after his inclusion from the interchange bench to score after Ben Picker attracted the markers and the tall utility ran a great line into a gap. Chris Medcalf converted.
The Raiders’ then failed to complete the corresponding set of six, kicking out on the full and giving the Warriors yet another set of six in prime attacking field position.
From there the young Canberra side was unable to wrap up the football as the big New Zealand forwards offloaded at will and conceded another two tries before a brilliant finish by Sami Sauiluma in the 65th minute off a sweeping backline movement gave the winger his 11th try of the year and the Raiders second. Medcalf failed to convert from the right hand touchline.
Canberra then conceded yet another try before centre Jack Wighton scored a well deserved consolation try as the fulltime siren went off.
The Raiders were always going to be underdogs in this contest, and will look to keep their finals ambitions alive when they travel to Newcastle next Sunday to take on fellow contenders the Knights. Source: raiders.com.au