Canberra juniors stay on top after belting Eels
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Canberra juniors stay on top after belting Eels

OUTSIDE backs Andrew Heffernan and Jeremy Hawkins both scored hat-tricks to help Canberra Raiders to a 46-6 under-20 demolition of Parramatta on Saturday. The hosts scored eight tries to one to retain top spot on the ladder.

Star halfback Mitch Cornish was superb in his return from a two-week lay-off with an ankle injury, racking up 16 points through a try and six goals.

Jeremy Hawkins scored a hat-trick in the 46-6 win.

Jeremy Hawkins scored a hat-trick in the 46-6 win.Credit:Melissa Adams

It was a welcome return to form for last year's grand finalists, who have been patchy without a handful of key players in recent weeks.

Cornish's display was timely after Canberra's standby NRL halfback Sam Williams suffered a bad ankle syndesmosis strain in Mounties' NSW Cup win over Newcastle.

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The Dragons-bound playmaker is expected to be ruled out for four to six weeks, which could open the door for Cornish.

However, utility Anthony Milford would likely shift to the halves should injury strike first-choice playmakers Terry Campese and Josh McCrone.

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Cornish's halves partner, Jordan Worboys, picked up man of the match.

CANBERRA RAIDERS 46 (A Heffernan 3, J Hawkins 3, J Reuben, M Cornish tries; M Cornish 6, J Worboys goals) bt PARRAMATTA EELS 6 (P Pauli try; M Brasington goal) at Canberra Stadium.