Losing streak continues for the Dragons in the nation’s capital.
The spotlight on the St George Illawarra Dragons’ season will only burn brighter after they again failed to win on the road against Canberra, falling to the Raiders 30-17.
It has been an incredible 13 years since the Dragons last won in the nation’s capital and the hoodoo will continue for coach Steve Price and his men as they were made to pay for defensive errors in the second half.
Raiders coach David Furner sprung a selection shock when he recalled Blake Ferguson to the run-on side, after his suspension for breaking the team’s alcohol policy was lifted.
The flying outside back thanked the club for the second chance and said the win against the Dragons was built off the back of their big men.
“I thought we controlled the ball well and hats off to the forwards they got us out of our own half,” Ferguson said,
“It’s great to be back and I want to thank the fans and the players for showing faith in me.”
Dragons veteran Matt Cooper said the club will stick together as they continue to hunt for their first win of the season.
“We just have to keep our heads up, we haven’t won a game yet and we’ve got big game against the Sharks next week, but we just have to get to training and work hard and keep our spirits high,” Cooper said.
“But our defence wasn’t good enough tonight, they scored too many tries, 30 points is too many to give away down here (Canberra).”
Dragons’ winger Brett Morris looked to have scored in the corner in the opening minutes but interference was ruled in the lead-up.
Both sides got into the grind of the game, as the Raiders started to look dangerous when they played quickly and with flair through the middle third of the field.
A Nathan Fein line-break led to Morris scoring the try he was denied earlier, when he dived full length forward to reel in a well-weighted chip kick by Rein to make it 4-0.
At the 20 minute mark, incredibly, it brought up two hours since the Raiders had a scored a point against any opponent, typifying their early season struggles.
Ben Creagh made a silly offload close to his line to hand the Raiders another chance to open their account but the Dragons stayed composed.
St-George continued to defend their line well to shut down almost anything the Raiders threw at them, but the glut of possession to the home side began to work in their favour.
Fullback Reece Robinson got the Raiders on the board through a bizzare try, which saw four players fall themselves in attempting to chase a grubber kick.
And with Jarrod Croker’s sideline conversion Canberra grabbed the lead at the half hour mark.
Both sides lacked direction close to the line in attack, with the two tries in the game coming by way of kicks.
With time running out in the first half, Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward struck a 40m field goal as the siren sounded to leave the Raiders leading just 6-5.
Dragons assistant coach Steve Folkes at half-time said his side showed heart to keep themselves in the game
“We are very happy with our goal line defence, they had five sets in a row where we kept them out so that gives us some hope for the second half,” Folkes said
“We have to go set-for-set with them, something will come, but we have to be patient.”
Just after half time Croker was dragged down just short of the line but Robinson capitalised on the lack of Dragons’ defence, as he strolled over for his second for the game, the sixth time he has scored a double at Canberra Stadium.
Daniel Vidot scored against his former side off the back of a penalty, with the Dragons setting up the attacking raid well, seeing them make the score 12-11.
The Raiders were desperate to crack the 20-point barrier, with a damming statistic painting a picture of their recent history.
Canberra had won only three of their last 70 games when they did not score more than 20.
But that would not be a factor against the Dragons, with tries to Jarrod Croker and Sandor Earl seeing the score blow out to 24-11.
Dragons halfback Nathan Fien crossed under the posts to give his side a hope of dashing its hoodoo in the national’s capital.
However, the Raiders secured the win when Robinson returned a poor kick by the Dragons as he raced 80 metres downfield before finding Croker for the try as the home side made the final score 30-17.