An injury-ravaged Aquis Gold Coast Titans outfit have suffered a 42-16 defeat to the Canberra Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
Coming into the match missing several key players to injury, the night was made worse for the Titans who lost forwards Kevin Proctor, Chris McQueen and Joe Greenwood before kick-off and fullback Tyrone Roberts early in the second-half.
The Raiders produced a dominant first-half performance to control the match and starve the Titans of the ball with the home-side only seeing 37% of possession. With the momentum in the Raiders favour, winger Jordan Rapana took full advantage crossing for a first-half hat-trick to guide his side to a 26-10 lead going into the break.
The Titans started the second-half strongly producing an early try but the quality of the Raiders big-men turned the momentum back in the visitors favour and their lethal backline capitalised on the possession to produce three second-half tries to run away with the match and take the 42-16 victory.
It was the visitors who opened the scoring in the seventh minute with winger Jordan Rapana finishing off a slick back-line play to score in the corner to give the Raiders an early 4-0 lead.
The Raiders went back-to-back in the 12th minute after a break by Josh Papalii had the Titans defence reeling and some quick-passes found space out-wide for Rapana to cross for his second try of the night. With Jarrod Croker’s kick sailing wide, the Raiders were forced to settle for an 8-0 lead.
The Titans turned defence into attack in the 19th minute with Tyronne Roberts-Davis collecting a loose ball on his own 10 metre line before racing 80 metres down-field before being tackled. With the Raiders defence struggling to get back, the Titans quickly spread the ball wide and found Anthony Don who produced an acrobatic effort to plant the ball down on the opposite wing to reduce the deficit back to 8-4.
An error by the Titans coming out of trouble gifted possession to the Raiders in prime attacking position and they made the Titans pay with Rapana crossing for his third try of the night in the 25th minute. With Croker missing the first two conversions from that spot, former Titan Aidan Sezer stepped up and added the extras to give the Raiders a 14-4 lead.
The Raiders forwards were making easy metres down the middle and their outside backs were reaping the rewards with fullback Jack Wighton slicing through the defence to score in the corner before Sezer added the extras to extend the lead out to 20-4 after 30 minutes.
The Raiders were having a field day down their right edge and went back-to-back with Joey Leilua and Rapana combining to produce a razzle-dazzle play resulting in Leilua crossing next to the posts to give Sezer an easy conversion and the side a 26-4 lead.
But despite having only 27% of possession the Titans hit-back in the dying minutes of the half with Karl Lawton dummying his way through the Raiders defence to score next to the posts and give Ash Taylor an easy conversion to reduce the deficit back to 26-10 going into the break.
The Titans started the second-half in spectacular fashion with Lawton making a break from the opening set before drawing-and-passing to Taylor to score under the posts to give himself an easy conversion to reduce the deficit back to 26-16.
The Raiders made the Titans pay for a poor attacking kick to race the length of the field and go from defence to attack. With back-to-back sets on the Titans line, the Raiders extended their lead through Elliott Whitehead who cleaned up the scraps of a loose cross-field kick to score in the corner and give the Raiders a 30-16 lead.
The night was made harder for the Titans in the 58th minute with Tyrone Roberts coming from the field with a suspected broken toe.
A penalty gifted the Raiders attacking position and they took full advantage with Josh Papalii chasing down a Josh Hodgson grubber to score next to the posts. With Sezer adding the extras the Raiders lead shot out to 36-16 with 20 minutes remaining.
An error coming out of trouble by the Titans again gifted the Raiders a prime opportunity to extend their lead and they capitalised with Croker cleaning up the scraps before passing to winger Nick Cotric to score next to the posts. Sezer added the extras to give the Raiders the 42-16 win.
The Titans will look to hit-back next week when they take on the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Canberra Raiders 42 (J Rapana 3, J Wighton, J Leilua, E Whitehead, J Papalii, N Cotric tries; A Sezer 5 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 16 (A Don, K Lawton, A Taylor, E Whitehead tries; A Taylor 2 goals)