By Chris Wilson June 02, 2012
ANALYSIS: All the pre-game talk had been about make-shift halves, especially with Josh Dugan's move from fullback to five-eighth for the Raiders. But Dugan and the Raiders were given a lesson by Benji Marshall about how to control a match. Marshall was brilliant. He had three try assists and his kicking game was spot on in the wet. Marshall appears to be growing his beard as a superstition while the Tigers are on their winning streak. That tally now stands at six and if the Kiwi play-maker can maintain his form, he could even keep his whiskers when the Tigers take on the Melbourne Storm next Friday.
This week's team selections show Raiders coach David Furner is scrambling for answers to his team's horrible form. He shifted Dugan to five-eighth and Blake Ferguson to centre. But they provided no solutions. It was Canberra's worst performance of the year. Their handling was atrocious, even considering the conditions. How can they come back from that against the Knights next week? We'll see.
FULLTIME: Tigers win 40-0.
78min: Sorry, just realised I forgot to update the score. It's actually Tigers leading 40-0.
About the only thing Blake Ferguson might catch tonight is a cold. It's been an unhappy return to the NRL for the Country Origin rep.
The Raiders have only been held scoreless once at Canberra Stadium - that was a 26-0 loss to Melbourne in R19 last year. Can they at least break their duck? It's the only reason for Raiders fans to stay tuned.
72min: Lucky it's raining, because Benji's on fire. Marshall delivers his third try-assist of the game, going to the line and delivering a nice short pass for Liam Fulton to bust through and score. Marshall converts. Tigers lead 38-0.
69min: That could have been embarrassing. Reece Robinson gets back to a 65m kick from Benji Marshall to ground the ball in-goal, just before Beau Ryan can pounce for another try. Somebody throw in the towel.
64min: Commentators curse! No sooner had Fox Sports commentary lauded the take of Reece Robinson as a rare "highlight'' for the Raiders, than Robinson had dropped the ball. In the ensuing set Marshall grubbers wide for Matt Utai to score in the corner. Marshall converts. Tigers lead 34-0.
61min: I felt I should write something. But not much to report really. Iosefa is on for his return to the NRL with the Tigers if anyone's still interested in this one.
53min: In case you were waiting for an answer, there were no rewards coming for the Raiders. Shaun Berrigan commits a forward pass from dummy-half.
52min: Here's some good news for Raiders fans, they've forced consecutive sets. First with a smart kick into the in-goal from Dugan, then another from Josh McCrone. Can they get any rewards?
47min: He might be funny, but Beau Ryan is no joke. Ryan beats six Raiders defenders - if you count Josh Dugan twice, then grubbers through for Chris Lawrence to score in the corner. Only Beau Knows how much the Tigers will will this match by. Marshall misses his first conversion, from the sideline mind you. Tigers lead 30-0.
41min: The Raiders were no doubt told to steady down at half-time and control possession. Advice ignored. Sam Mataora throws a ridiculous pass first tackle after the re-start and Dugan knocks on. The Tigers pounce immediately, Marshall grubbering through for Beau Ryan to score an uncontested try. Is there a mercy rule in this game? Marshall converts. Tigers lead 26-0.
When I say Josh Dugan has egg on his face, I'm talking about the massive lump on his noggin not his performance so far. It's difficult to gauge whether his move to five-eighth will be successful for the Raiders because he's had absolutely no opportunity in attack. He aimed up early in defence with some good shots, but he's had no impact on this game so far.
HALF-TIME: The Tigers are completely dominating this match, leading 20-0 at the break. The visitors haven't had to do anything spectacular at all, their three tries have come from nothing more than basic hit-ups. The Raiders have been woeful in attack. They're no chance of catching the Tigers in this one if they can't start catching the ball. The Tigers have had 64 per cent possession. The only highlights for the Raiders are those under Jarrod Croker's headgear.
38min: The horror! The Raiders win a penalty in attacking position, but Dane Tilse spills it on the first tackle.
35min: Oh, you really have to feel for the Raiders fans sitting out in the rain and suffering through this. Having finally forced a repeat set against the Tigers, Benji Marshall executes a short-drop out and wins back possession for the Tigers. Then another penalty to the Tigers. This is one-way traffic at the moment.
30min: The Raiders are killing themselves with handling errors and bad discipline. The Tigers are dominating with 65 per cent of possession. This time Ben Murdoch-Masila, running just one pass out, simply barges through Canberra's insipid defence. Marshall coverts and it's raining points. Tigers lead 20-0.
25min: Recalled after a one-match ban for an alcohol breach, Ferguson isn't making up for it early in this one. That's his second handling error in his own half, putting the Raiders under more pressure.
23min: Robbie Farah conducts a simple run-around play from dummy half, but the Raiders' left-side defence baulks on their own line. Farah takes advantage sliding across for a simple Tigers try. Marshall converts from out wide. Tigers lead 14-0.
21min: The Raiders can't maintain pressure, David Shillington this time guilty of spilling to ball while Canberra is on the attack. Another penalty gives the Tigers a free pass out of their own area.
18min: The Raiders make a meal of Benji Marshall's bomb, Josh Dugan knocking it forward to Shaun Fensom in an offside position. Marshall kicks a penalty goal. Tigers lead 8-0.
14min: Blake Ferguson drops the ball first pass from a scrum on the Raiders line. And the Tigers accept the invitation. The Tigers shift side to side until Curtis Sironen decides to straighten the attack, dragging a couple of Raiders defenders across the tryline. Benji Marshall converts. Tigers lead 6-0.
8min: Raiders blow a good opportunity on the Tigers' line, Josh McCrone losing possession with a sloppy play-the-ball. It's the third error in the play-the-ball this game already. Both teams need to get back to basics.
6min: Shaun Fensom gives away consecutive penalties. The Raiders are are pressure now.
2min: Josh Dugan's first play as an NRL five-eighth is a shocker, kicking the ball well dead from a grubber.
1min: Slippery conditions and it took only 30 seconds for the first error. Benji Marshall loses control playing the ball. Raiders on the attack
Keith Galloway leads the Tigers out to celebrate his 150th game. He's looking to lead the way and put his his hand up for Origin too. He'll have to beat Raiders prop Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, who's also desperate for a recall with the Blues.
There's talk that the ACT Government is exploring the possibility of building a covered stadium in Canberra by the end of the decade. It can't come quick enough for these hardy Raiders fans, who are again braving some miserable conditions. Can the Green Machine finally give them something to cheer about, given the Raiders have won only 6 of their last 17 at Canberra Stadium?
PREAMBLE: The Tigers have made some late changes to their squad, promoting legend Paul Sironen's son Curtis to five-eighth. It should make for an interesting battle in the halves, with Canberra fullback Josh Dugan named to start at five-eighth for the Raiders. In another late switch, Tigers coach Tim Sheens will give former Penrith hooker Masada Iosefa his first start with the club from the bench. Iosefa was actually playing for the Raiders' NSW Cup feeder team the Mounties, but the Tigers pinched him from under their noses. The Raiders have dropped Kiwi international Bronson Harrison off their five-man bench.
It's wet and it's cold, just the kind of conditions that the Canberra Raiders have become accustomed to at home this season. The Raiders certainly need home conditions on their side if they're to halt a red-hot Tigers outfit searching for its sixth win on the trot.