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Raiders stave off Roosters' charge in NRL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/05/2017 Matt Coughlan

Jarrod Croker of the Raiders (centre) is tackled by Jake Friend of the Roosters (left). © AAP Image/Lukas Coch Jarrod Croker of the Raiders (centre) is tackled by Jake Friend of the Roosters (left). Canberra have stood firm after spirited fightback from an Origin-depleted Sydney Roosters side, scoring a scrappy 24-16 NRL win at GIO Stadium.

Jordan Rapana was instrumental in the Raiders posting back-to-back victories, causing havoc on the right wing in the first half to pick up a try-scoring double.

Despite being without Mitchell Pearce, Boyd Cordner, Dylan Napa, Aidan Guerra and Blake Ferguson, the new-look Roosters pushed Canberra late.

In contrast, the Raiders were only missing Queensland forward Josh Papalii and the man who replaced him in the second row, veteran Sia Soliola, who was superb in defence and attack.

Roosters skipper Jake Friend opened the scoring after 10 minutes, making a run from dummy half and slipping through the Raiders defence.

Rapana responded three minutes later, beating Daniel Tupou before defying Kane Evans' attempt to hold him up in the tackle with Jarrod Croker's conversion levelling the scores.

Quick passing allowed Rapana to put the Raiders in front 10 minutes later, with centre Joey Leilua assisting his second try to demonstrate the threat posed by the Raiders' right-edge combination.

Jarrod Croker of the Raiders (centre) is tackled by Jake Friend of the Roosters (left). © AAP Image/Lukas Coch Jarrod Croker of the Raiders (centre) is tackled by Jake Friend of the Roosters (left). Croker passed 1500 career points in the NRL just before the half-hour mark by getting on the end of an Aidan Sezer grubber.

A superb piece of athleticism by Joseph Manu to dive over in the corner for the first points of the second half got the Roosters back in the hunt.

Michael Gordon's brilliant conversion reduced the margin to four with 16 minutes remaining.

A Jarrod Croker penalty opened up an 18-12 lead for the home side but a brilliant run from Roosters fullback Michael Gordon set up Latrell Mitchell who crossed near the sideline to get the visitors within two points.

Aidan Sezer picked up a wild pass in the final minute to score the sealing try, with Croker adding the points to give them an eight-point winning margin.

Canberra's win - their sixth of the season - lifted them back into the eight, while the Roosters remain in the top four despite the loss.

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