When last year’s grand finalists take on the wooden spoon favourites, you would expect a one-sided bloodbath.
But when the Canberra Raiders faced the Canterbury Bulldogs on Sunday evening, that was hardly the case.
The Bulldogs nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season, but faltered in the final 30 minutes to suffer a 34-20 loss in Canberra.
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Canterbury scored three consecutive tries to take a 20-12 lead before the interval, sending a shockwave through the Raiders camp.
Canberra were on the ropes after the break when hooker Tom Starling was sent to the sin bin for a ruck infringement.
Hi there. I’ve just arrived from 1984 in my time machine and caught the first half. Good to see the @NRL_Bulldogs are still one of rugby league’s top teams but that new @RaidersCanberra side still has a way to go to challenge for a title. #NRLRaidersBulldogs
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But despite being down to 12 players, Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton scored twice in the following 10 minutes to secure a phenomenal comeback.
It’s the second consecutive week Wighton has mustered a double in quick succession, having done the same thing against the Gold Coast Titans in round 15.
Fox Sports journalist Simon Brunsdon tweeted: “Jack Wighton plays better with less teammates on the field.”
“This is a crazy, crazy game,” muttered Fox League commentator Warren Smith.
“Terrific contest to finish out round 16.”
Wighton does it again! #NRLRaidersBulldogs #TelstraPremiership pic.twitter.com/ijyGwpyZHd
WIGHTON 👊 #NRLRaidersBulldogs
Raiders appear to be getting serious now. And so they should.
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The Bulldogs tired as the second half progressed, and Canberra took advantage of their exhausted opponents, scoring once again when young gun Hudson Young dived over.
Having secured their 11th victory of the season, the Raiders climb back up to fifth spot on the NRL ladder, while Canterbury remain in 16th.
Meanwhile, the Brisbane Broncos will breathe a sigh of relief knowing a Bulldogs win would have pushed the struggling club down to bottom spot.
Next weekend, the Bulldogs will take on the Gold Coast Titans in Sydney, while Canberra will hosts the Sydney Roosters.
Bulldogs try or obstruction?
NRL: Bulldogs 2nd rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner was awarded a try by the Bunker, but the commentators weren’t as convinced the score should have stood.
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