Raiders slay Knights in Holden Cup
The Raiders have recovered from a slow start to run out comfortable 46-28 winners over the Knights in the Holden Cup.
Five-eighth Lachlan Lewis had an immense game for the Green Machine, scoring a double, setting up two tries and forcing a pair of line dropouts - all in the final 50 minutes of the contest - while his halves partner Zeke Foster also scored twice.
The Knights raced out to a 16-4 lead, but found themselves trailing at the break despite having 25 more tackles in their attacking 20-metre zone.
The Raiders conceded the opening try for the third straight week after two errors and a penalty gifted Newcastle great field position inside the first five minutes.
Matt Faitotoa made the most of his Holden Cup debut, scoring in the left corner off a nice pass from Brock Lamb, who nailed the tricky conversion.
Raiders captain Zac Woolford said in the pre-game that his side needed to eliminate the errors that had plagued them in 2016, but would have been disappointed with himself after kicking out on the full.
That error, coupled with a ruck penalty, led to Newcastle's second of the afternoon. After retrieving a sloppy pass on the last, Lamb recovered to grubber through for Matthew Soper-Lawler to touch down for his first of the day.
The son of NRL great Simon Woolford made up for his error, darting from dummy-half to get the Raiders on the board.
Having failed to find touch from a penalty of their own, Canberra compounded their woes with Daniel Dole placed on report for a high shot on Western Australian junior Kainoa Gudgeon, who recovered to score a consolation try in the 79th minute.
The Knights made their hosts pay, with a lovely short-side grubber from Jack Cogger sitting up for Soper-Lawler to score his second of the afternoon, taking his tally to five tries for the season.
After being outclassed by their counterparts in the first 30 minutes, Canberra's halves found their feet with a devastating 10-minute burst before the break.
Five-eighth Lachlan Lewis won a penalty for his side, and found a hard-running William Samuel a few plays later to cut the gap to six.
Halfback Zeke Foster then sprung to life in the final three minutes of the half, backing up twice to score a rapid-fire double to give his side an improbable 22-16 lead at the break.
The Raiders No.6 continued his hot-streak in the second half, dummying and fending his way to the line to extend the lead to 12 points.
Newcastle was able to temporarily stem the flow after Ryan Glanville latched onto an offload and bullied his way to the line from 15 metres out.
But a lopsided 12-7 penalty count took its toll on the hosts, who conceded three more tries in the final quarter of the game.
A grubber from Tre Williams rebounded off legs for Lewis to pick it up to score his second on the hour-mark, before the fullback sealed the result with a long-range effort in the 70th minute.
There were scary scenes in the 65th minute with Raiders lock Sione Afemui forced from the field on a medi-cab with what appeared to be a serious rib injury.
Canberra Raiders 46 (Zeke Foster 2, Lachlan Lewis 2, Zac Woolford, William Samuel, Tre Williams, Kalani Going tries; Zac Woolford 6, Tre Williams goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 28 (Matthew Soper-Lawler 2, Matt Faitotoa, Ryan Glanville, Kainoa Gudgeon tries; Brock Lamb 4 goals) at Hunter Stadium. Half-time: 22-16 Raiders. On report: Daniel Dole (Raiders).