Raiders beat depleted Cowboys


Canberra Raiders strengthened their place in the NRL top eight with a 26-12 victory over a depleted North Queensland Cowboys on Monday.

The Raiders ran in four tries and saw another ruled out late on as they moved to within one point of the Cowboys - Jack Wighton grabbing himself a double.

With Johnathan Thurston, Justin O'Neill, Gavin Cooper, James Tamou and Matt Scott all on Origin duty, the Cowboys were forced into a number of changes and their new-look line-up was immediately under pressure.

A driving run from Wighton opened the scoring for the hosts, but the Cowboys hit back five minutes later as Coen Hess superbly plucked a high ball out of the air to score.

Despite the Cowboys enjoying increased time with the ball, it was the Raiders who were able to find their way through again in a fast-paced opening 20 minutes.

Josh Hodgson took advantage of a kick that deflected off the Cowboys' post, and Jarrod Croker add the extras and a penalty to put the Raiders 14-6 ahead at half-time.

Cowboys debutant Josh Chudleigh danced through the home defence to cut the deficit six minutes after the restart, however that ended the visitors' scoring.

Wighton's second and Aidan Sezer's fine individual score try with four minutes to play ensured a big win for the Raiders that gives them a five-point cushion to St George Illawarra Dragons in ninth.