NSW Cup Round 20 Match Report vs Canberra Raiders

Wayne Cousins

Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles keep finals hopes alive with a win over the Canberra Raiders

A strong second half fightback has seen the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles grab a 24-18 victory over the Canberra Raiders at home today in round 20 of the NSW Cup.

In chilly conditions, Blacktown Workers overcame a 12-8 half-time to deficit to produce a strong finish to move to keep their finals hopes alive with six rounds remaining.

New Manly Sea Eagles prop Matthew Lodge made an immediate impact, scoring a try and making plenty of metres with some strong carries in an impressive debut for Blacktown Workers.

Lodge, who signed a train and trial contract with Manly last Monday for the rest of the season, played 34 straight minutes in the first half before playing the last 25 minutes of the second half.

NSW U19 second-rower Samuela Fainu also backed up for the Sea Eagles after captaining the Blues to victory in Redcliffe on Thursday night.

The Raiders enjoyed plenty of early possession inside the Sea Eagle quarter, eventually capitalising on it through the strength of prop Trey Mooney to crash over next to the posts.  Five-eighth Joshua James converted for a 6-0 lead after four minutes.

Canberra then lost hooker Danny Levi in the eighth minute with a possible jaw injury before the Sea Eagles opened their account in the 11th minute with a try to half-back Jakob Arthur from an inside kick from winger Jake Toby for  6-4 scoreline. It all came from a long run from centre Clayton Faulalo after taking a short kick on his own line two players earlier. 

Canberra went to a 12-4 lead after 20 minutes after forward Adrian Trevilyan crashed through the middle to score under the posts.

Blacktown Workers crossed for their second try in the 26th minute when Faulalo managed to pop a pass in a two-man tackle for winger Ray Vaega to dive over in the corner. Cooper Johns failed to convert from the sideline to leave the Sea Eagles trailing 12-8.

Fainu almost pulled off a spectacular try in the 32nd minute off a Johns crosskick but lost the ball after a few juggles with the score remaining 12-8 at the break.

Blacktown Workers drew level in the 61st minute when Fainu leapt high to defuse a Johns bomb to score near the posts. Johns converted for a 14-12 lead.

Lodge then extended the Sea Eagles lead to 18-12 when he used his strength to carry two defenders over the line to score. Johns converted for a 20-12 lead with 14 minutes remaining.

Faulalo then all but sealed victory for the Sea Eagles after half-back Jakob Arthur toed the ball through for his centre to score after a bone crunching tackle from Vaega that saw Canberra spill the ball from a Johns bomb for a 24-12 lead with six minutes remaining.

A minute later, Canberra hit back with a converted try to lock Hohepa Puru for a 24-18 scoreline to set up a nervous finish for the home side.

The win sees Blacktown Workers move to 22 points, just one point behind the fifth placed Canberra.

Blacktown Workers play third place Newtown Jets in a crucial game at Henson Park on Saturday, July 22, at 3pm.