Canberra keep up finals challenge

06 August 2017 23:17:02 GMTPlus11

The Raiders kept alive their hopes of making the NRL finals after beating Cronulla 30-12 at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

Canberra are just two points behind eighth-placed St George Illawarra with four games to play.

They weren't fazed by having Josh Papalii sin-binned in the second half, denying the Sharks during the ten minutes that they were down to 12 men.

Cronulla opened the scoring with a try to Sosaia Feki on five minutes, but by the time they hit the scoreboard again the Raiders had run in four tries.

The Sharks capitalised on an early penalty that got them in attacking range, Nu Brown's pass sending Feki over. Valentine Holmes added the extras then kicked a penalty goal to give the home side an 8-0 lead.

Canberra hit back when Papalii, after a two-game ban, carved through the home defence to score a try and Jarrod Croker's penalty goal shortly after levelled the scores.

Winger Jordan Rapana put the Raiders ahead for the first time, pouncing after Feki had dropped a Blake Austin bomb.

And Rapana soon had a double when he got on the end of a short-side play from Joey Leilua at dummy half.

The Raiders extended their lead just before the siren as hooker Josh Hodgson dummied his way into space and surged over.

Cronulla improved after the break, narrowing the gap after a lovely run and offload from Holmes was followed by a sublime Jack Bird pass to an unmarked Gerard Beale who scored a try.

The Raiders added a trio of penalty goals to push out to a 30-12 lead and effectively end the contest.

Cronulla areĀ 2.60 to win their next game against the Broncos, who are 1.52. The Sharks areĀ 1.90 with a six-point start.

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