The Canberra Raiders have shown they are a team to be reckoned with this Telstra Premiership after earning their third win in a row, downing the Parramatta Eels 19-0 at GIO Stadium in front of 16,059 fans.
The win came at a cost for Canberra with Joe Tapine chaired from the field in the second half with a potentially serious ankle injury.
It's the latest blow for the Kiwi international who was playing in his return from injury, after being forced out for two weeks due to a thumb injury.
The loss for the Eels were further soured by the loss of Blake Ferguson, who left the field early in the second half with suspected broken ribs after early suffering a likely broken nose.
However, the win for the Raiders was set up by an exceptional effort in defence from the home side, who hunted as a pack and forced several turnovers by the Eels, who struggled to get out of their own half for much of the clash.
Match: Raiders v Eels
Round 5 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
- LIVE PASS
Canberra enjoyed a glut of possession early in the game as their forwards stormed through the middle third of the field as they set up camp in the Eels' danger zone however a cheap turnover released the pressure on the away side who survived unscathed.
Against the run of play, Raiders centre Jarrod Croker scooped up a loose ball to scoot 70 metres which set up the second line-drop out of the game as Canberra applied the blowtorch to the Eels line with Jack Wighton crashing over, only to be denied by a sensational effort from Brad Takairangi.
Parramatta looked a chance of opening the scoring when they spread the ball to their right edge which saw them race 90 metres only to see the play called back for a forward pass.
The Raiders continued to play flat at the line, but the Eels defence continued to hold firm despite the home side enjoying close to 60 per cent of possession throughout the first half.
The pressure finally told as Josh Papalii showed tremendous strength to carry two Eels defenders close to the line before he stretched out to plant the ball.
Croker added the easy extras and the home side enjoyed a 6-0 lead after 28 minutes.
Parramatta continued to be their own worst enemies at times in the first half, turning over early possession in the face of aggressive defence by the Raiders.
After being forced into their third goal-line drop-out for the half, the Eels were again penalised for slowing the play the ball and Croker added another two points to make it 8-0 in the shadows of half-time.
Ferguson received more treatment early in the second half after being swamped by three Raiders defenders after he fielded a bomb and after signalling to the trainer was soon taken from the field.
Another Eels turnover turned into a try-scoring opportunity as Elliott Whitehead pounced on a loose grubber kick to make it 12-0 in the 50th minute.
The home side continued to press its advantage mid-way through the second half, as Sam Williams placed a perfect chip kick to his halves partner, with Wighton soaring high and slamming it down to make it 18-0.
Michael Jennings looked dangerous in the 73th with a darting run close to the line, but was held up over the line by a desperate Raiders defence.
With just four minutes remaining Williams opted for some field goal practice to ice the 19-0 win.