Warriors break their Eden Park hoodoo in spectacular fashion.
The Canberra Raiders have conceded 50 points for the second game in a row, after being thrashed by the New Zealand Warriors 54-12 at Eden Park.
After losing 54-18 against the Manly Sea Eagles in round eight, Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has a tough ask in turning his side’s season fortunes around, as they plummet to 14th on the ladder.
In is the first time since the Raiders have lost back-to-back games by conceding more than 50 points since 2006 when they lost to Newcastle 70-32 and 56-20 against Sydney.
The Warriors turned on the fireworks early in the game as Ben Matulino and Konrad Hurrell scored to give them a handy 12-point lead in as many minutes.
Shaun Johnson potted both conversions and added to his points tally for the game when he crossed the line in the 18th minute as the scoreboard quickly got out of hand for the Raiders on the road.
Canberra got up off the canvas when centre Jarrod Croker soared to pull down a Terry Campese bomb, and the conversion saw the lead narrow to 12.
Jack Whighton went agonisingly close to finishing off a sensational passage of play from Canberra, spurred on by their first try and some great second-phase play, only for the centre to be dragged down just short of the line.
New Zealand again exploited the poor defence by the Raiders out wide, as they got on the outside of their defensive line before Ngani Laumape sped away making the score 24-6, which they managed to hold until half-time.
Manu Vatuvei made a bad mistake coming out of his own half early in the second half, gifting the Raiders an excellent chance to score first in the second stanza and give themselves an outside shot at a come-from-behind win.
But in a reflection of how the Raiders’ day was going, Johnson bagged his second for the game when he cleaned up a spilled bomb to race 90 metres the other direction to make the score 30-6.
Sam Tomkins continued to apply the pain the Raiders after he finished off a runaway try after the restart, with Canberra’s defence being found wanting.
As bad as the Raiders’ defence was their opponent’s backing up was just as good, with several New Zealand player lining up to finish off the play as the margin surged to 30 with as many minutes remaining.
Vatuvei atoned for his mistake early in the half as he scored thanks largely to a poor decision from Reece Robinson to attempt an intercept.
Johnson continued his excellent night with the boot, kicking all seven shots in front of him belying his record to date this year, as the game was out of control now for the Raiders.
The procession continued as Tomkins and Hurrell combined before Jason Bukuya finished off another pretty play from the home side.
Vatuvei bagged a double, his ninth try against Canberra in four games, as the score reached 50 again with Johnson kicking 9-9.