Raiders prop Dunamis Lui.

If the Canberra Raiders are to be the last team standing this NRL season, Saturday's scrappy 20-12 win might be a blueprint as to how they do it.

Far from being a team that has averaged 34.7 points a game against the Wests Tigers in their last 10 outings, the Raiders victory was earned off the back of scrambling defence and second efforts.

With little field position in the second half, Canberra were spurred on by outstanding performances from Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad at fullback and Josh Papalli off the bench along with the direction provided by Josh Hodgson and Aidan Sezer.

"I hope they were proud of the effort, an ugly win but we scrambled our way back to two points tonight," Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said.

"We knew what how important the game was and we knew how desperate [the Tigers] would be and where they are on the table in regards to their game and we got away on them a bit in the first half.

"We probably weren't ruthless in the first half, we kept inviting them back into the fight and in the second half we were ruthless in defence given we didn't have any field position.

"It gave us some good education about hanging in and winning a really tight one."

Sezer has been crucial for the Raiders especially in the last two weeks, with his kicking game proving crucial at times in greasy conditions at GIO Stadium.

"Especially at the start of the game I thought he controlled our ruck attack really well, and he's got a really good combination with Josh [Hodgson] when they are working to the plan," Stuart said of his halfback.

"And then his desperation at the end on our right side of the field when the ball bounced over his head and he had to make a desperate tackle and I thought it was a wonderful save.

"They score there and it's a different five minutes until the end of the match."

Nicoll-Klokstad's reputation continues to grow, with his safe hands under the high ball and surging kick returns seeing him put his body on the line for the benefit of the team.

"He's been a revelation," Stuart marvelled.

"The trainer came off and said he thought he heard a crack and through he'd broken his leg in the far corner.

"He's a tough kid but I constantly talk to him about worrying about the little things in his game and there's areas we are working on to improve but he's a better player than what we was, in game one this year."

Josh Papalii has found himself in a different role as he continues to recover from State of Origin duties, playing 48 minutes off the bench.

Despite the new role the Raiders enforcer was outstanding in recording 201 metres from 18 runs.

Match: Raiders v Wests Tigers

Round 18 -

Full Time
Raiders

Home Team

Raiders

Scored 20 points
Wests Tigers

Away Team

Wests Tigers

Scored 12 points

Venue: GIO Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Foxtel
  • LIVE PASS
  • KAYO

"He's playing different stage of play and I am trying to look after him and Jack [Wighton] and I am looking after their [training] loads during the week," Stuart said of Papalii.

"It's not about last week or tonight, it's about three or four weeks down the track because it can be mentally tiring, Origin.

"So, Josh will be back starting soon, but I leave a lot of that to the boys too."

Hodgson continued his reputation as the NRL's master thief with another two one-on-one strips giving his side possession in crucial times.

"It's an art, he reminds me of Alfie Langer, he was amazing at it to and I think they changed the rule because of him," Stuart said of his hooker.

"It changes momentum, it's a big shift, and we gave away a penalty away and on tackle two Josh gets the strip."

Canberra will next face the red-hot Penrith Panthers, who recorded their seventh straight win on Friday night when they thrashed St George Illawarra by 22 points.