Bateman’s back as Raiders sneak past Dogs
John Bateman called Ricky Stuart from the North of England after the Raiders' third straight loss.
"I'm right,'' he said. "I want to come back and play.''
Six days after making that phone call, the English international inspired the Raiders to a gritty 12-10 win over the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.
Recovering from a broken eye socket in just three weeks, Bateman flew 15,000km from Manchester to Sydney to help break the Raiders' losing streak.
Scoring in the first half to send the Raiders to 10-0 lead, Bateman played the full 80 minutes as the Raiders held on to outlast the Bulldogs in a State of Origin-affected clash.
Kicking the ball twice after a stray Siliva Havili off-load found his right foot, Bateman then outsprinted everyone to plant the ball moments before it rolled over-the sideline.
OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS
You can't accuse Dean Pay of being belligerent.
After being slammed for sending all of his attack away from Kieran Foran in last week's loss to the Storm, Pay this week listened and sent all the ball left.
In a new look game-plan that centred around the star five-eighth, the Bulldogs attacked the left edge with Foran, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Marcelo Montoya targeting Raiders No.7 Sam Williams.
After a fruitless first half, the tactic finally worked when Foran combined with Nick Meaney to set up a match levelling four-pointer for Marcelo Montoya.
After a try to Cogger on the left edge put the Bulldogs back in the match, Montoya finished off a slick left side raid to make it 10-10 in the 64th minute.
CROKER'S STRIP SHOW
A double play from inspirational Canberra captain Jarrod Croker helped kill a Bulldogs fightback and deliver the Raiders a much-needed win.
After the Bulldogs scored twice to level the match at 10-10, Croker striped the ball from Remis Smith on Canterbury's 20-meter line.
Giving the Raiders a rare second half attacking chance, Canberra then received a penalty near the posts.
Croker backed up his strip by landing the two-pointer that gave Canberra back the lead.
This match was the perfect advertisement for a stand-alone State of Origin series.
On a cold night that saw a Sydney team take on the out of town Raiders, ANZ Stadium was a sea of seats with only 7213 fans turning out for the clash.
With Sydney teams taking on Sydney teams in the first two State of Origin affected clashes, both Penrith and Parramatta were spared the empty stands.
The Bulldogs weren't so lucky.
CANBERRA 12 (J Bateman S Kris tries J Croker 2 goals) bt CANTERBURY 10 (J Cogger M Montoya tries R Martin goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: David Munro, Grant Atkins. Crowd: 7,213