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Match Report - Round 6 2002

Eagles trounce Raiders, 21 Apr '02

The Northern Eagles have bounced back from their worst loss in NRL history by destroying the Canberra Raiders in front of a small crowd at NorthPower Stadium.

The Eagles produced a near faultless display against the Raiders, who clearly struggled to come up from last week’s heartbreaking two point loss to the Broncos.

Steve Menzies nabbed a double for the Eagles, and rookie five eighth Luke Dorn controlled play with an excellent kicking display.

In contrast the Raiders struggled to find any cohesion at all, with their few attacking options easily handled by the Eagles defence.

In just the third minute of play the Eagles looked to have gone ahead through Ben MacDougall, after a hotly contested bomb from Dorn was allowed to bounce in the in goal.

But video referee John Gocher denied the try to the Eagles winger and awarded a penalty to the Raiders, adjudging that Northern captain Steven Menzies illegally impeded Canberra player Michael Robertson.

Two minutes later though Dorn’s kicking game produced the game’s first try. He grubbered deep into the in goal off a rolling set of six, the ball sitting up nicely for fullback Brendan Reeves who had anticipated the youngster’s move.

Jason Ferris made no mistake with the conversion, the Eagles going ahead 6-0 after seven minutes.

Canberra began to settle their play down after the early try and counter-attacked the more dominant Eagles, but couldn’t cross the line because of some poor decision making at the end of their tackle counts.

Dorn’s kicking game was troubling the defence of Canberra, and established a good territorial advantage for the home side.

In the 23rd minute, late replacement Wade Forrester ran on to a short pass from halfback Ferris and crashed through smaller opponent Brett Finch to score the Eagles second try.

Ferris grabbed the extra two points, putting the margin out to twelve points in favour of Northern.

With less than five minutes remaining in the first half the Eagles gained what looked to be the game breaking try. Second rower Brad Kelly charged down a Raiders kick and made for the tryline, but was brought down in a brilliant tackle by fullback Clinton Schifcofske.

But Canberra were unable to get men back in cover, and the Northern Eagles swung it wide for Menzies to get across the tryline past Raiders centre Greg Wolfgramm.

Ferris added the extras to give the Eagles a commanding 18 point lead at half time.

The Eagles continued their confident display in the early stages of the second half, the three pronged attack of Ferris, Dorn, and rookie Chad Randall proving a handful in the Raiders territory.

Northern’s fourth try came after some good blindside work from Forrester, whose bucking run drew the defence to put Albert Torrens over in the corner.

Ferris landed the conversion from the sideline to put the game away for the Northern Eagles, who held a 24-0 lead over the tentative Raiders outfit.

Menzies grabbed his second try in the 55th minute with another strong run close to the Canberra line, which was followed by one of the best tries of the NRL season to front rower Jason King.

King, who’d run straight over the top of a Raiders defender off the kick-off to put Steve Menzies in the clear, backed up his captain over the course of some sixty metres in what was a brilliant prop’s try.

With ten minutes left in the match the Raiders scored a through Ruben Wiki, then winger Phillip Graham ran the length of the field from a kick return to cross and make the final score 36-12 in favour of the Eagles.

(Menzies 2, King, Torrens, Reeves and Forrester tries; Ferris 6 goals)

Raiders 12 (Graham, Wiki tries; Shifcofske 2 goals)

NorthPower Stadium
20 Apr '02,

Referee: Tony Archer

Eagles Team:

Brendon Reeves,
Lenny Beckett,
Albert Torrens,
Ben MacDougall
John Hopoate,
Luke Dorn,
Jason Ferris,
Jason King,
Jamie Goddard,
David Westley,
Brad Kelly,
Nik Kosef
Steve Menzies (c).

Mal Kaufusi,
Chad Randall,
Wade Forrester,
Luke Williamson.