Canberra Into NRL Semifinals With 22-18 Win Over Roosters

Canberra Into NRL Semifinals With 22-18 Win Over Roosters

SYDNEY: The Canberra Raiders scored three early tries for a 16-0 lead and then held on to beat two-time defending champion Sydney Roosters 22-18 on Friday to advance to the National Rugby League semifinals.

The Canberra win at the Sydney Cricket Ground was a reversal of last year’s grand final when the Roosters beat the Raiders 14-8.

The Raiders led 16-6 at halftime and the Roosters moved to within four points midway through the second half before Canberra center Jack Wighton took advantage of a Roosters’ handling mistake to score a clinching try with 11 minutes remaining.

James Tedesco’s second try of the night for the Roosters with five minutes remaining and the ensuing conversion again pulled Sydney to within four points, but Canberra held on to advance to next Friday’s semifinals against the Melbourne Storm in Brisbane.

Josh Papalii scored Canberra’s first try in the fifth minute. The Raiders have won all nine games this season when scoring first.

On Saturday, Parramatta plays at South Sydney in the other second-round match. The winner will play the Penrith Panthers, who finished first during the regular season, in the semifinals next weekend.

Both Penrith and Melbourne had advanced straight to the semifinals with wins in the opening round.

The grand final, delayed like most other professional sports around the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, is scheduled for Oct. 25 at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney. Because of continuing crowd restrictions, the 82,000-seat stadium will be limited to 40,000 spectators under current plans.

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