Leilua brace downs Broncos as Raiders keep pace at NRL summit
Canberra Raiders continued their impressive start to the NRL season with a hard-fought 26-22 victory over Brisbane Broncos on Sunday.
The Raiders finished outside the play-off picture last season but the early signs in 2019 are promising after a fifth win from six games saw them keep pace with Melbourne Storm, South Sydney Rabbitohs and defending champions Sydney Roosters atop the ladder.
Joey Leilua grabbed himself a couple of tries at GIO Stadium while John Bateman also impressed as the struggling Broncos were left on two points following their fifth defeat from the opening half a dozen matches.
Canberra's Nick Cotric and the visitors' Kodi Nikorima traded scores inside the opening quarter before Leilua powered his way past four defenders from 20 metres out for his first.
His second arrived soon afterwards, Bateman doing superbly to offload with three Broncos hanging off him but, having trailed 14-4 at the break, Brisbane edged narrowly ahead within 15 minutes of the restart thanks to tries from David Fifita and Corey Oates.
Bateman swiftly restored the Raiders' lead, ducking under Payne Haas en route to the line, and Ryan Sutton's opportunistic score meant Jack Bird's effort came too late for the Broncos.
In Sunday's earlier game, Tyrone Roberts crossed twice for Gold Coast Titans, for whom Michael Gordon contributed 18 points in a 38-14 home win over Newcastle Knights.