Young’s double helps Raiders to chaotic win over Dogs

Jasper Bruce |

Hudson Young has starred in Canberra’s narrow win over Canterbury.
Hudson Young has starred in Canberra’s narrow win over Canterbury.

Hudson Young has made a last-minute case for a State of Origin recall, helping Canberra survive two sin-binnings to defeat Canterbury 24-20 in a chaotic start to Magic Round.

There were costly errors, an injury scare and bombed tries aplenty at Suncorp Stadium, but when Jordan Rapana and Josh Papalii went to the sin bin within minutes of each other on Friday night, the Bulldogs appeared ready to pounce on the 11-man Raiders.

Canterbury bagged three tries in five minutes either side of halftime to cash in while the Raiders were without the full complement of players.

But former NSW second-rower Young, one of the best support runners in the NRL, scored a pair of tries that roused the Raiders from 20-12 down and sealed a hectic win.

“I’ll be doubling the dosage of the heart tablets this week,” Raiders coach Ricky Stuart joked.

“Everybody who supported the Raiders or everybody who supported the Bulldogs tonight got a wonderful start to Magic Round. I don’t think there could be a greater spectacle.”

Matt Burton.
Matt Burton was among the scorers in a gallant effort by Canterbury, but was found wanting late on. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

Young ran the perfect line to grab Ethan Strange’s beautiful short ball and give the Raiders first points after the contest reverted to 13 on 13.

He charged over again on the back of a Kaeo Weekes line-break to score what proved the decisive try.

Penrith’s Liam Martin appears destined for one second-row spot in the Blues’ Origin side, but the other is far from certain, with Haumole Olakau’atu and Angus Crichton appearing Young’s biggest competition for a berth either in the starting side or on the bench.

“Hudson played an Origin-style game tonight,” Stuart said.

“Madge (NSW coach Michael Maguire) has got a big job to do.”

Canberra’s first two tries came gift-wrapped by Canterbury errors. Connor Tracey first spilled a bomb into the hands of Xavier Savage, before Seb Kris capitalised when a two-man tackle dislodged the ball from Jacob Kiraz’s grasp.

The Bulldogs did themselves few favours attempting to close the gap. 

Tracey and Jacob Preston bombed tries down the right side, before Josh Addo-Carr sprayed a kick dead when he had only Rapana to beat in the back-field.

Rapana was ruled to have knocked Addo-Carr off the ball in a professional foul and so went to the sin bin, closely followed by Papalii, who laid a hip-drop style tackle on Bulldogs second-rower Viliame Kikau moments before the half.

Canterbury’s best player this season threw the ball away in agony and went off with his ankle issue, but returned to finish the game.

“It was a bit scary there for a second, but glad he’s all right,” said Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo.

Josh Papalii is sent to the sin bin.
Josh Papalii’s 10-minute spell left the Raiders to hold on with 11 men. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

Young’s fellow NSW Origin hopeful Matt Burton had some solid moments, though it was halves partner Hutchison whose boot produced more points. When the game was on the line late, Burton came up short on answers. 

Illegal pressure on kickers has been a hot-button issue this season, with Rapana the latest player to come under fire when the game was in the balance in its final minutes.

Rapana tried to charge down Reed Mahoney’s chip as the hooker made a break, but kicked out at him. 

He was spared a second trip to the sin bin and the Bulldogs bungled the late chance on the attack afforded by the penalty, all but sealing their fate.

“When we got our chance to deliver the killer punch at the end, we just didn’t take it,” Ciraldo said.