A dominant performance by Jack Ahearn has led the Raiders NYC team to a 34-16 victory in their Round 9 clash with the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.
Ahearn controlled the play for the Raiders, setting up two tries from five-eighth as the Raiders ran through the resilient Sea Eagles side later in the second half.
The Raiders, who now move back up to equal 1st with the Wests Tigers, led 12-10 at half time, but were pushed for most of the game by the Sea Eagles before their attacking class proved too much for Manly.
The Sea Eagles came out with lots of energy, but it was the Raiders who grabbed the first points on the back of a Manly mistake. After working towards the posts, Ben Picker threw a good short pass from dummy half to send Chee Kam over, with Cornish’s conversion giving the Raiders a 6-0 lead.
They extended that to 12-0 5 minutes later when Chee Kam crossed again, this time off a great cut-out ball from Jack Ahearn, with Cornish making no mistake from next to the posts.
With the Raiders on a roll, some great work by Jake Busby at the back for the Sea Eagles with a one-on-one strip set up the momentum for Manly. The Sea Eagles scored back-to-back tries from here, with Josh Drinkwater going over from dummy half in the 21st minute, before Sam Short crossed after some great passing put Steve Tavita in some space, and closed the gap to 12-10 after 24 minutes.
Both sides had opportunities, but neither could break the opposition defences, going into the break with Canberra holding a narrow 12-10 lead.
A mistake from the Sea Eagles early in the second half gave the Raiders a big opportunity, and Edrick Lee took advantage from the scrum, fending away from Dylan Strickland and scoring. Cornish wasn’t able to convert, but the Raiders now led 16-10 in the 44th minute.
As they did in the first half, the Raiders went back-to-back, as Jonathon Reuben broke away after catching a Sea Eagles kick, and beat Busby in cover defence to score under the posts in a 100m try. Cornish made no mistake, and extended the lead to 22-10 in the 48th minute.
But the Raiders made a crucial error, dropping the kick-off in the in-goal, and from the ensuing set the Sea Eagles short passing again troubled the Raiders defence, as Strickland busted the line and crossed, with Drinkwater converting to get back in the game at 22-16.
After bombing a try shortly after this, the Raiders began to stretch their legs, with tries to Jeremy Hawkins (61st min) and a second to Lee (67th min) pushing the score out to 34-16.
Best for the Sea Eagles were fullback Jake Busby, half Josh Drinkwater and forward Jake Trbojevic, while the best for the Raiders were Jack Ahearn, Mitchell Cornish, Shannon Boyd and Michael Chee Kam.
The Raiders take on the Eels next Sunday at Canberra Stadium, with kick-off at 11:45am.
CANBERRA RAIDERS 34
(Michael Chee Kam 2, Edrick Lee 2, Johnathon Reuben, Jeremy Hawkins Tries; Mitchell Cornish 5/6 Goals)
Defeated MANLY SEA EAGLES 16
(Josh Drinkwater, Sam Short, Dylan Strickland Tries; Drinkwater 2/3 Goals).