Canberra close gap on top eight

15 July 2018 19:37:13 GMTPlus10
Jordan Rapana

The Raiders have kept their slim finals chances alive with a 38-12 victory over North Queensland at GIO Stadium.

The Green Machine moved to within four points of the top eight as winger Michael Oldfield ran in a hat-trick of tries.

He capped his outing with a 90-metre run for his third try, warming the fans on a cold night in the nation's capital.

But Canberra's win was soured by a serious injury to captain Jarrod Croker, who limped off in the 30th minute after dislocating his left knee cap.

Returning winger Jordan Rapana took little time to make an impact after being out for three weeks with a hamstring injury.

He soared to claim a cross-field kick in the third minute and finished acrobatically to get Canberra off to an excellent start.

The Cowboys, who only completed 26 of 36 sets in the first half, soon fell further behind when Croker sent Oldfield across in the corner.

They reduced the gap to just two points, though, when Lachlan Coote got on the end of a move involving Jake Granville and Te Maire Martin, with Johnathan Thurston converting.

Croker was forced off after collapsing untouched as he chased through a kick into the in-goal, though his departure brought Blake Austin into the game and he grounded a grubber kick for the Raiders' third try just two minutes later.

A mistake by Elliott Whitehead gave the Cowboys a chance to hit back quickly, which they took when Thurston's grubber paved the way for a Gavin Cooper try.

Four unanswered tries in the final 16 minutes secured the win for the home side.

Oldfield completed his treble by going over twice in the space of five minutes, with Rapana and Aidan Sezer adding further four-pointers.

Canberra are 2.90 to win their next game against the Sharks, who are 1.44.

The Raiders are 1.93 with a 4.5-points start.

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