RAIDERS 46 d. TIGERS 6 @ GIO Stadium
Canberra avoided becoming the only team in the competition with an 0-3 record by obliterating Wests Tigers eight tries to one.
THE MATCH: A 75-metre intercept try to David Nofoaluma to open the scoring would be as good as it got for the Tigers. Their hosts had built an 18-6 lead by halftime as Jordan Rapana, Josh Papalii and Blake Austin scored.
Rookie winger Nick Cotric and fullback Jack Wighton put the result beyond doubt before the hour mark, while in his comeback from injury captain Jarrod Croker scored a 62nd-minute try to go with his haul of seven goals.
Elliot Whitehead and Rapana added further tries to complete a sizzling attacking display by the home side and a miserable afternoon for a Tigers side now under immense pressure.
THE MAN: It’s hard to remember a winger having such a big influence of matches on such a regular basis as Rapana. The Kiwi Test flyer made three line-breaks and 213 metres, scored two tries and came up with a magical try assist. He is constantly involved and is a game-breaker of the highest order.
THE MOMENT: Rapana’s sizzling run and centring kick for Austin to score was the standout of the Raiders’ offensive exhibition.
Raiders 46 (Jordan Rapana 2, Josh Papalii, Blake Austin, Nick Cotric, Jack Wighton, Jarrod Croker, Elliot Whitehead tries; Croker 7 goals) d. Tigers 6 (David Nofoaluma try; Mitchell Moses goal).
DRAGONS 16 d. SHARKS 10 @ Southern Cross Group Stadium
St George Illawarra rebounded from last week’s loss to Parramatta with a gritty derby upset of the premiers.
THE MATCH: A first-half double from Dragons centre Euan Aitken spearheaded the win, firstly crossing from a Cameron McInnes grubber in the 22nd minute before picking up a dropped ball from opposite Ricky Leutele and running away for a remarkable 60-metre try three minutes out from the break.
The Saints’ 14-0 halftime advantage was whittled down to just two points as Luke Lewis and Edrick Lee crossed in the space of seven minutes, but the visitors dug deep thereafter.
Gareth Widdop’s third penalty goal in the 64th minute gave the Dragons a six-point cushion and the Sharks – so dominant with the ball in hand in Canberra last weekend – were unable to find the leveller.
THE MAN: Paul Vaughan was a colossus up front for the victorious Saints, making a game-high 204 metres from 14 carries – including a line-break – and racking up 30 tackles.
THE MOMENT: Aitken’s second try was a brilliant solo effort, showcasing the ever-improving centre’s speed and strength, while also providing the underdogs with a crucial double-figure lead just before halftime.
Dragons 16 (Euan Aitken 2 tries; Gareth Widdop 4 goals) d. Sharks 10 (Luke Lewis, Edrick Lee tries; James Maloney goal).