Cowboys hand Raiders third-straight loss

Canberra have gone down 22-16, losing their past four games by six points or less, while North Queensland have won back-to-back for the first time this year.

Raiders coach RICKY STUART looks on before the NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Canberra Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia.
Raiders coach RICKY STUART looks on before the NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Canberra Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Canberra coach Rick Stuart admits the Raiders are in for a tough few weeks after losing hooker Josh Hodgson and a third-straight NRL game, falling 22-16 at home to North Queensland.

Hodgson left the field in Saturday afternoon's second half with a suspected broken thumb, while Cowboys veteran Matt Scott was scratched in the first half with a shoulder complaint.

The Raiders struggled badly without Hodgson last season when he was out injured. The Canberra co-captain will likely miss at least a month.

The Green Machine are already without internationals Jordan Rapana, Joey Leilua and John Bateman and might well lose Josh Papalii and Jack Wighton next week to State of Origin duties.

"It doesn't help your cause when you're losing your best players and tonight was no different," Stuart said.

"But that's not the excuse tonight, with Hodgo going off. We weren't good enough - we had a week off and it's not good enough.

"We let ourselves down, we talk about the benchmark we've been setting ourselves and we went backwards tonight."

Scott's injury appears less serious and he should remain in contention to play for Queensland on June 5 in the Origin opener.

The Cowboys have won consecutive games for the first time this season and coach Paul Green says they must use the victory to ignite their campaign.

"We have to take some momentum out of it. It's the first time we've backed up a win, so we're just putting ourselves back in the hunt now, so it's really important to capitalise on that," Green said.

"They were missing players and losing Hodgson, he's a key to their game, that made it a bit hard but they've still been a good side this year so it was a good win for us."

The Cowboys opened the scoring through a Jordan Kahu penalty goal. The Raiders conceded four penalties inside 10 minutes but their defence held strong to keep the visitors tryless.

North Queensland hooker Jake Granville sliced through out of dummy-half before putting Tom Opacic in to score untouched after 18 minutes and Kahu converted for an 8-0 lead.

Wighton responded with a 40-20 and, minutes later, threw a pinpoint cut-out pass to Bailey Simonsson who scored in the corner but Jarrod Croker missed the conversion.

The Raiders took the lead when Williams grubbered in-goal and Gideon Gela-Mosby missed the ball to hand Michael Oldfield a gift on 28 minutes.

Cowboys centre Justin O'Neill crashed over to wrestle back the lead and they extended the margin after halftime when Michael Morgan kicked for an unmarked Kyle Feldt to score in the corner.

A penalty goal made it 20-10 before Canberra super-sub Siliva Havili scored from close range out of dummy-half with 20 minutes to play.

The Cowboys booted another two-pointer and the Raiders had several chances to send it to golden point but the visitors held on.


AAP