Raiders v Knights: Five key points

Raiders v Knights: Five key points

Defence took a back seat as the Raiders put on an attacking masterclass to keep their season alive with a 46-28 win over the Knights. 

Late tries could prove costly

Breathe easy Canberra fans because you're team is still alive… for now. 

But as good as their win over the Knights was, there were a couple of concerning signs, in particular a couple of defensive lapses in the final five minutes that saw Newcastle race in two late tries.

It mightn't have looked like much on the scoreboard, but those late strikes could prove costly if Canberra finish the regular season level on competition points with the teams just above them on the ladder. 

Had the Raiders held on for a 46-16 win then they would have finished the night in ninth spot. Instead, they are level with the Dragons on points differential (+87) and could rue the final five minutes when it's all said and done next week. 

"We were still disappointed with those last couple of tries," skipper Jarrod Croker said. 

"The effort and the scramble was there but it probably took the shine off the win, I guess. We had to get two points and we did it."

Long season takes its toll

They've become everyone's second team this season but an exhausting campaign appears to have finally caught up with the Newcastle Knights. 

On track for their third wooden spoon in a row, the Knights have put in some brave performances in 2017 and even claimed three consecutive wins before being blown off the park by the Storm last week and then exposed defensively by the Raiders. 

"Today we looked like a side that had come to the end of a fairly long campaign," Knights coach Nathan Brown conceded. 

"Like a lot of sides we've got a lot of blokes who are wounded and a lot of blokes playing wounded and a lot of young guys who probably need to go into the paddock."


Rapana joins elite company

Raiders winger Jordan Rapana became just the second Canberra player to score 20+ tries in multiple seasons, joining cult hero Noa Nadruku after he grabbed a hat-trick in the big win over Newcastle. 

Rapana's treble took him to 20 four-pointers for the season after he scored 23 in 2016. 

His exploits saw him join Nadruku in the exclusive club after the Fijian flyer bagged 22 tries in 1993 and 21 three years later. 

Props to the big men

While Rapana will get all the raps for his hat-trick, a lot of the credit must go to Canberra's big men for the way in which they laid the platform in the opening 20 minutes.

Junior Paulo was unstoppable in the opening exchanges and was rewarded with his first try in Canberra colours while he was ably supported by front-row partner Shannon Boyd as well as bench prop Dave Taylor. 

"Him (Paulo) and Boydy started the game so well for us," Croker said. 

"They came off the back fence and they're hard men to tackle. They've been big for us and they were great again tonight. I thought the bench complemented them well again."

Points, points and more points

Round 25 is on record-breaking pace with the first two games producing a staggering 160 points in 160 minutes.

While the scoreline in the Broncos v Eels game last night might have been somewhat surprising, there was nothing unexpected about the 46-28 result in the nation's capital.

The Raiders and Knights combined for an NRL-record 102 points back in 2006 (Newcastle won 70-32) while the past five matches between the sides have all produced 48+ points.