The Raiders are on the board for 2023 after willing their way to a 24-20 victory over the Sharks on Sunday evening in Canberra to capture their first two competition points of the season and extend their winning streak against Cronulla to nine games.
Sharks number one William Kennedy picked up where he left off after his hat-trick against Parramatta last week, taking advantage of a Ronaldo Mulitalo line break back up the middle to give the Sharks an early 6-0 lead.
The Bathurst-native is one of five players to have scored four tries on the season.
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Canberra hit back shortly after through left winger Albert Hopoate who reeled in a sublime Jack Wighton cut-out to dive over in the corner.
Interchange prop Corey Horsburgh spun through some meek Cronulla defence on the goal-line to snag just the third try of his 63-game NRL career on the half-hour mark before the Sharks answered through Ronaldo Mulitalo moments later to make it 12-10 going into the half-time break.
A powerful effort courtesy of centre Matt Timoko extended the Canberra lead to 18-10 on the other side of the break before a mad sequence saw Horsburgh pour through a gaping hole to grab the first try double of his career and improve Canberra’s lead to a convincing 24-10.
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As the sides regrouped in preparation for the kick-off following Horsburgh’s second, Sharks prop Royce Hunt was called out by the referee and binned for locking horns and striking Horsburgh earlier in the set.
Down to 12 men, Cronulla crossed through Jesse Ramien to breathe some life back into their chances before Briton Nikora ran a neat line off Braydon Trindall to score with eight minutes remaining and lay the platform for a fast finish.
The visitors fired several shots but the Raiders’ wall remained stout as they held on for their first win of the season after a pair of heartbreaking losses.
Horsburgh was big off the pine for Canberra scoring a double, running for 85 metres, and making 27 tackles whilst Timoko scored a try and ran for 154 metres with three tackle breaks.
Tom Starling assisted on a pair of tries off the interchange and made a game-high 54 tackles.
Trindall enjoyed another strong outing in place of the injured Nicho Hynes assisting on two tries and kicking for 452 metres whilst Kennedy scored a try, assisted on another, and ran for 146 metres from 16 carries.
Cronulla will look to bounce back in a fierce local derby against St. George Illawarra at Kogarah on Sunday evening with the visitors hoping that Hynes can recover from a troublesome calf in time for the clash.
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