Titans Coach Justin Holbrook has praised his sides second half effort, but says ultimately it was a run of errors that handed Canberra a 36 points to 16 win.
“We started really well and created enough chances with the ball, so I’m pleased with that aspect,” Holbrook said.
With Ash Taylor a late withdrawal (quad injury) and in-game injuries to Nathan Peats (calf), Keegan Hipgrave (ankle), Jaimin Jolliffe (head injury assessment) and Jamal Fogarty (ribs), Holbrook says he is proud of the fight in his side but was ultimately disappointed with the result.
“We made three or four errors in a row and they (Raiders) took control and never let us back,” Holbrook said.
Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton starred for the visitors, scoring two tries and moving his side back into the NRL’s top four.
With Ash Taylor’s withdrawal, 20-year-old Tanah Boyd stepped into the starting halves role.
Boyd made his intentions clear early with high involvement and it was his grubber which led to the opening try to Phil Sami for the Titans.
The Raiders hit back through Nick Cotric when Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad caught the Titans short on the flanks with a slick cut-out pass.
Wighton started and finished the next try after wrapping around Elliott Whitehead and sending Jordan Rapana away. The Raiders five-eighth backed up on the inside to finish a superb passage of rugby league.
Wighton did it all himself for his second try where he showcased his brute strength and dancing feet to prove too powerful and elusive for the defence.
Bench hooker Starling dived over from dummy-half to give the Raiders a 22-4 half-time.
If there was a moment that summed up the Raiders' determination not to give the opposition a sniff it was in the second half when prop Josh Papalii sprinted 60 metres to run down a flying Jamal Fogarty when the Titans half seemed certain to score.
“Jamal Fogarty could have been one of the biggest plays ever,” Holbrook said, highlighting that the halfback’s played an inspirational game in his first as captain.
Opposing coach Ricky Stuart had high praise for the chaser as well, saying that Papalii showed what it means to play in the green jersey.
“Papa will go down as one of our (Canberra) greatest players ever when he retires,” Coach Ricky Stuart said.
The home side looked the most dangerous when halfback Fogarty and fullback AJ Brimson combined. Brimson scored when he hit a Fogarty ball at speed close to the line to get the Titans back within 12 points but the Raiders hit back immediately.
Starling showed a deft touch at dummy-half to send Hudson Young crashing over and restore the 18-point margin. Cotric swooped on an errant Sami pass minutes later to score and make it 34-10
The Titans did not give up and scored late through Keegan Hipgrave but they clearly missed suspended captain Kevin Proctor on the edges and injured lock Jai Arrow in the middle.
The Titans now have back to back away matches in Sydney against the Dragons and Bulldogs, before a return to Cbus Super Stadium to host rivals Brisbane in Round 18.