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Raiders' split personality befuddles fans

Date

Jon Tuxworth

Year in Review

Raiders players celebrate during their semi-final win against the Sharks.

Raiders players celebrate during their semi-final win against the Sharks. Photo: Karleen Minney

The Canberra Raiders are the NRL's Jekyll and Hyde team. About as predictable as next week's Lotto numbers.

And the Green Machine only enhanced that reputation with a 2012 campaign full of turmoil, trauma and dramatic twists and turns.

There were mid-season rumours coach David Furner would be sacked, another shattering knee injury to Terry Campese, staying in a hotel before home games and a late-season surge which captivated a city.

Terry Campese had another year ruined by injury.

Terry Campese had another year ruined by injury. Photo: Getty Images

As a team it could be infuriating to watch, its penchant for backing up a clinical win with an inept loss frustrating and often bewildering.

At their best the Raiders were scintillating, but their worst, for a side with such a talented roster, was sub-par.

Fans could not comprehend how the Raiders could completely outplay eventual premier Melbourne on its home turf in round 18, then be made to look second rate by the struggling Titans in Canberra the following week.

Shaun Berrigan and Josh Papalii watch on forlornly during the 40-0 round 13 drubbing against Wests Tigers.

Shaun Berrigan and Josh Papalii watch on forlornly during the 40-0 round 13 drubbing against Wests Tigers. Photo: Colleen Petch

The fans' frustrations spilled over at half-time against the Gold Coast, with several spectators booing the players from the field.

But then the Raiders stumbled upon the solution to their inconsistency.

They used some of the most exciting, attacking football to turn a season of unfulfilled promise into 2012's best rags-to-riches story.

Raiders coach David Furner had his job security questioned.

Raiders coach David Furner had his job security questioned. Photo: Colleen Petch

Canberra won its last five regular season games to surge from 13th to sixth, sealing a previously unimaginable home final against Cronulla in week one of the play-offs.

Almost 25,000 fans crammed into Canberra Stadium to watch the hosts dispose of the Sharks 34-16, with the fiery battle between young Raiders forward Josh Papalii and NSW skipper Paul Gallen the highlight.

The fairytale ended at the hands of a rampant Rabbitohs side in Sydney the next week, but they had done enough to save face.

And, quite possibly, save Furner's coaching career.

After Canberra's crippling 40-0 home loss to Wests Tigers in round 13, whispers began to emanate that Furner would be replaced by his 1994 premiership teammate Ricky Stuart. The rumours subsided when Stuart joined the Parramatta Eels.

Furner will hope his side can eradicate the slow starts which have plagued it in recent years.

After the Tigers loss, Furner took his players on an unprecedented trip to the central coast in a bid to boost the team's morale and bring the players closer together.

It seemed to have worked when Canberra won its next game, 32-16 at Newcastle, but it did not take long for the Raiders' evil alter ego to re-emerge. After a bye, the Raiders were embarrassed 40-18 by North Queensland in Townsville.

Their up-and-down form continued before they began their late-season revival, which had many tipping them as a potential grand final ''smoky''.

Canberra must be given credit for refusing to give up on a season which seemed lost more than once.

Every league fan felt for Campese, the skipper and chief playmaker, when in round seven he suffered a recurrence of the anterior cruciate ligament injury which had ruined his 2011 season at Brisbane. The shell-shocked Raiders lost 30-6 to the Broncos, and without their talisman were to lose four of their next five games.

It prompted most critics to dismiss Canberra as a finals hope - no Campo, no Raiders.

While they might have re-signed star fullback Josh Dugan until the end of 2014, they have a left-field entry for the ''best investment of 2012'' award.

In a quirky move to address their horror form at Canberra Stadium, the Raiders stayed at Eagle Hawk Rydges before their round-22 win at home against Brisbane.

They made this a practice for the rest of the campaign, the Raiders winning the rest of their home games, including a 34-6 thrashing of minor premier Canterbury.

Since 2004, Canberra has failed to make the finals in back-to-back seasons. But the club has its reasons, on and off field, to be optimistic that 2013 is the year this will change.

Former Toyota Cup coach Andrew Dunemann and premiership-winning halfback Brett Kimmorley have replaced Justin Morgan and Andrew McFadden as the Raiders' assistant coaches.

Bar the departure of second-rower Bronson Harrison, Canberra's best side remains largely the same. Fans have their fingers crossed that 2013 is the year Canberra closes the chasm between its best and worst for good.

RAIDERS SEASON 2012 RESULTS

Rd 1: Lost to Storm 24-19, Canberra

Rd 2: Beat Titans 24-12, Gold Coast

Rd 3: Lost to Roosters 14-8, Sydney

Rd 4: Beat Wests Tigers 30-16, Campbelltown

Rd 5: Lost to North Qld 22-6, Canberra

Rd 6: Beat Warriors 32-12, Canberra

Rd 7: Lost to Broncos 30-6, Brisbane

Rd 8: Lost to Sharks 44-22, Canberra

Rd 9: Lost to Sea Eagles 18-12, Brookvale

Rd 10: Beat Eels 40-34, Canberra

Rd 11: Bye

Rd 12: Lost to Rabbitohs 36-18, Sydney

Rd 13: Lost to Tigers 40-0, Canberra

Rd 14: Beat Knights 32-16, Newcastle

Rd 15: Bye

Rd 16: Lost to Cowboys 40-18, Townsville

Rd 17: Beat Dragons 22-18, Canberra

Rd 18: Beat Storm 40-12, Melbourne

Rd 19: Lost to Titans 38-26, Canberra

Rd 20: Beat Sharks 36-4, Cronulla

Rd 21: Lost to Knights 36-6, Canberra

Rd 22: Beat Broncos 28-12, Canberra

Rd 23: Beat Panthers 20-10, Penrith

Rd 24: Beat Roosters 24-20, Canberra

Rd 25: Beat Bulldogs 34-6, Canberra

Rd 26: Beat Warriors 42-22, Auckland

FINALS

Qualifying final: Beat Sharks 34-16, Canberra. Semi final: Lost to Rabbitohs 38-16, Sydney

FINAL STANDING

6th - 13 wins, 11 losses

LOSSES

Bronson Harrison (Dragons), Trevor Thurling (Queanbeyan Blues), Travis Waddell (released)

GAINS

Joel Edwards (Knights), Jake Foster (Bulldogs), Haydon Hodge, Paul Vaughan (Mounties), Mitchell Cronin, Hayden Crockett, Shannon Boyd (Toyota Cup promotion)

AWARDS

Mal Meninga medallist: Shaun Fensom. Leading point-scorer: Jarrod Croker, 226 (first in NRL). Most tries: Reece Robinson (17)

AVERAGE CROWDS

11,286

HIGHLIGHT 1

Canberra's five straight wins to complete the regular season, catapulting it from 11th to sixth and a home final against Cronulla. In front of a packed house at Bruce, the Raiders smashed the Sharks 34-16, the highlight being Raiders second-rower Josh Papalii's successful targeting of NSW Origin skipper Paul Gallen.

HIGHLIGHT 2

The continued emergence of young talent. Prop Mark Nicholls, hooker Matt McIlwrick, winger Edrick Lee, centre Jack Wighton, and second-rower Jarrad Kennedy all made their first grade debuts.

LOWLIGHT 1

It doesn't get much worse than the Raiders' 40-0 thrashing at home against Wests Tigers in round 13. With rumours coach David Furner was about to be sacked reaching fever pitch, the Raiders then embarked on a soul-searching camp on the South Coast. It did the trick, with Canberra launching a stirring revival to make the finals.

LOWLIGHT 2

You're not human if you didn't feel for Raiders skipper Terry Campese when his anterior cruciate ligament gave way for a second time at Brisbane in round seven. Every Canberra fan, and league supporters in general, have their fingers crossed he enjoys some overdue luck in 2013.

2013 DRAW

Rd 1: v Panthers, Penrith

Rd 2: v Titans, Gold Coast

Rd 3: v Dragons, Canberra

Rd 4: v Knights, Newcastle

Rd 5: v Roosters, Canberra

Rd 6: v Warriors, Canberra

Rd 7: v Cowboys, Townsville

Rd 8: v Storm, Melbourne

Rd 9: v Knights, Canberra

Rd 10: v Sharks, Cronulla

Rd 11: v Sea Eagles, Brookvale

Rd 12: Bye

Rd 13: v Broncos, Canberra

Rd 14: v Panthers, Canberra

Rd 15: v Tigers, Campbelltown

Rd 16: v Rabbitohs, Sydney

Rd 17: v Cowboys, Canberra

Rd 18: Bye

Rd 19: v Eels, Canberra

Rd 20: v Dragons, Wollongong

Rd 21: v Storm, Canberra

Rd 22: v Roosters, Sydney, SCG

Rd 23: v Bulldogs, Canberra

Rd 24: v Sea Eagles, Canberra

Rd 25: v Warriors, Auckland

Rd 26: v Sharks, Canberra

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Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
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NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
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PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14vs NEW 16 Report Stats
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SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST 22vs STG 4 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36vs CRO 18 Report Stats
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SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24vs CBY 25 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18vs MEL 17 Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16vs BRI 26 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW 0vs STG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12vs CRO 20 Report Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
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PAR 16vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32vs WST 22 Report Stats
PEN 22vs MAN 12 Report Stats
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CBR 10vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22vs CBR 30 Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST 0vs NQL 8 Stats
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CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
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NZW 24vs NEW 20 Stats
STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs MEL 2 Report Stats
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Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
WST 20vs GCT 27 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
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Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST 34vs SOU 6 Report Stats
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NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
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GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
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MEL 22vs PAR 26 Report Stats
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Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs WST 20 Report Stats
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CBR 20vs NQL 21 Report Stats
GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG 14vs SYD 19 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
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Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
STG 8vs SOU 24 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
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Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
WST 8vs SYD 33 Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
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PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL 46vs PAR 4 Stats
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Round 21
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 14vs CRO 18 Stats
NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 46vs NEW 24 Stats
SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
Mon, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 24vs PAR 14 Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 16vs CBY 18 Report Stats
MAN 28vs SOU 8 Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 0vs STG 36 Stats
CRO 30vs NQL 18 Stats
PAR 10vs PEN 4 Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
NEW 22vs SYD 38 Report Stats
Mon, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 18vs WST 20 Stats
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Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
NQL 18vs SOU 31 Stats
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 32vs STG 6 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 18vs NEW 24 Stats
PEN 24vs NZW 10 Stats
SYD 28vs PAR 18 Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 24vs MAN 26 Stats
CBY 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
Mon, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 2vs MEL 30 Stats
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Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 19vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 18vs CBY 32 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 40vs WST 18 Report Stats
NZW 16vs NQL 50 Report Stats
SYD 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBR 12 Stats
MAN 16vs PAR 20 Report Stats
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 6vs NEW 20 Report Stats
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Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs BRI 47 Report Stats
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs SYD 46 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR 28vs CRO 35 Stats
NEW 18vs CBY 20 Stats
MEL 14vs NQL 6 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 50vs NZW 16 Report Stats
GCT 28vs STG 26 Stats
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs PEN 18 Stats
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Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI ($1.53)vs MEL ($2.50) 19:45SUN
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD ($1.35)vs SOU ($3.20) 19:45AS
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN ($1.80)vs NEW ($2.00) 15:00Pepp
STG ($1.60)vs WST ($2.35) 17:30ANZ
NQL ($1.22)vs GCT ($4.25) 19:301300
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR ($1.60)vs CBR ($2.35) 14:00Pirtek
CRO ($1.53)vs MAN ($2.50) 16:00Rem
CBY ($1.05)vs NZW ($10.00) 18:30ANZ
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NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
Sydney Roosters 23 17 6 0 38
Brisbane Broncos 23 17 6 0 38
North Queensland Cowboys 23 16 7 0 36
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 23 14 9 0 32
Melbourne Storm 23 13 10 0 30
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 23 13 10 0 30
South Sydney Rabbitohs 23 13 10 0 30
St George-Illawarra Dragons 23 11 12 0 26
View all
 

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