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Canberra Raiders v Canterbury Bulldogs

Thanks for joining us on the blog tonight. It was chilly, really chilly. Might need worker's compo to repair my frost-bitten fingers. But I'll survive. Check out the blogs for games over the weekend to stay up to date with all the action.

From Canberra, the Dogs are back on track. The Raiders keep sinking. In a telling sign, the Bulldogs stayed out on the field longer than the Green Machine players, despite being a Canberra home game.

That's it. Good night!


Canberra centre Jarrod Croker has easily been the Raiders' most consistent player this year. He was one of their best again last night, scoring the opening try of the game and causing plenty of headaches for opposite number Krisnan Inu. He could have set up another try the very next set, but his inside pass intended for fullback Reece Robinson went to ground. The Raiders hammered the Bulldogs left side all night and enjoyed some success.


Canberra has leaked point all year out wide, a major contributor to a defensive record which is the worst in the competition. Nothing changed in the first half with Bulldogs wingers Low and Corey Thompson making the Raiders pay for some poor reads and positional play. It's no secret it's an area where Canberra can be exposed, and it must find a way to rectify it before the season completely slips away.


Leading 6-4 midway through the first half, the Raiders put Canterbury under pressure with around 15 tackles on their line. Curiously Canberra opted to let the Dogs off the hook and take the penalty goal from in front. Clearly skipper Terry Campese didn't agree with coach Ricky Stuart's decision, slamming the ball into the turf in disgust. The visitors proceeded to score the final two tries of the half and take a 14-8 lead into the break. The decision smacked of a struggling side clearly down on confidence and belief, but the only way to emerge from a slump is to back yourself.


Reece Robinson had a shocker against Brisbane under the high ball last week and was dumped to NSW Cup. So it came as a massive shock when he was named at fullback, with rising fullback Anthony Milford dropping back to the bench. Presumably the reason was because Milford was involved in Queensland Origin camp all week, and didn't train much with the side. However it backfired badly when Robinson gifted Canterbury a second half try. Trying desperately to avoid a drop out, Robinson lost the ball attempting to plant the ball in the field of play. He lost it, and Tim Lafai planted the ball to score. It was ruled a no try on field, but the video referees Luke Phillips and Henry Perenara overruled. It was a controversial call, as Trent Hodkinson appeared to be holding Robinson's legs, which would constitute a tackle.

On to the talking points with the great Jon Tuxworth..



With injuries to NSW outside backs Michael Jennings and Will Hopoate, Raiders centre Jack Wighton had an ideal chance to press his claims after being involved in the Blues camp for Origin II. But with Blues coach Laurie Daley watching on from the stands, the 21-year-old was caught out of position twice in defence in the first half. It allowed opposite number Tim Lafai to set up two tries to winger Drury Low with quick passes. Daley has huge raps on Wighton, as evidence by his move to bring Wighton into camp last week to get a feel of how things work for the future.

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Here's a recap:

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 22 (Drury Low 2, Corey Thompson, Tim Lafai tries; Trent Hodkinson 3 goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 14 (Jarrod Croker, Anthony Milford tries; Croker 3 goals)at Canberra Stadium on Friday night. Referees: Ashley Klein and Alan Shortall. Crowd: 10,873


Full Time. A good win for the Bulldogs. A sad way for the Raiders to celebrate their 20-year premiership reunion.

80: Into the last minute now, this one's over. A good win for the Dogs, they break a three-game losing streak. The Raiders sink to another low, they had their chances in this one but their attack is really struggling. They get into the 10 metres and then go backwards!

78: And that sums it up, the Raiders lose the ball when trying to play it. It was their lasts chance. Hodkinson taking a breather on the bench, a well earned rest after a big week.

77: Raiders launching one last charge, but they are just falling short tonight. That Reece Robinson mistake on his own line could prove the difference.

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75: Report from former Raider Brett Finch on the sideline, it's -1 degrees down at the field. it feels like it as well!

74: TRY!!! May be too little too late, Campese grubbers through and Milford is easily the first person to the ball. Scores the Raiders second try of the match, maybe there's a slim hope they can save this one. Croker converts. Raiders 14 Bulldogs 22

If the Raiders lose this one, they will have won just two of their seven games at home this year.

72: Welcome back Joel Edwards! Absolutely crunched by Inu, didn't see him coming. In the last two minutes we've head four knock ons! I know my fingers are about to fall off but I thought the players would be all over it. Might be a bit slippery out there tonight, who knows.

71: You've got to feel for first-gamer Brenko Lee. It just hasn't been his night. Another knock on then trying to clean up a kick, Bulldogs attack from 20 metres out. But then they drop it on the first tackle, Reynolds again. He's not having the best game, but Hodkinson carrying the Dogs.

Bulldogs fullback Mitch Brown looking pretty good tonight..


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67: Message coming through from Canberra Times Sport boss calling for the Raiders to take the two points if they get a penalty within range. Fair enough given the way the Raiders' attack has been tonight. Seems their best option for scoring points..

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66: The Raiders have bombed it again. They can't even get through their sets. Now the Bulldgos are attacking Greg Eastwood busts up and the big fella shows some good toe to get inside the Raiders' half!

Weather update. Getting hard to type capitals, fingers are a bit numb. If Caps Lock sticks on, apologies in advance.

The Bulldogs get a penalty for a late tackle and now they've got a set 10 metres out. It was Fensom taking out Reynolds. They've been at each other all night.

The Bulldogs decide to take the shot at goal instead of going for the kill. Gives them a 14-point buffer and could prove crucial. Hodkinson nails penalty. Raiders 8 Bulldogs 22

65: Raiders get a penalty after Jarrod Croker taken out chasing a kick and players are running from everywhere to grab jerseys. Seems a bit ridiculous with blokes just running in to grab each other. They might as well be cuddling. Mick Ennis arguing with the refs, filthy that they've decided to give Canberra an attacking set just 10 metres out.

65: The Bulldogs won five games in a row earlier this year, but they've lost their last three in a row. If they win this, it would be a huge boost to their season.

62: There are plenty of Raiders legends in the stands tonight, probably wishing they were out on the field helping the club. Brett Mullins was loving life earlier but I don't know if he'll be smiling with the Raiders battling. Josh McCrone is off with an injury and going straight up the tunnel. Raiders have just two interchanges left with 17 minutes to go.

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