Cotric sent off as Croker sets Canberra try record, Roosters slip up
Canberra Raiders roared up to third place in the NRL with a seven-try demolition of St George Illawarra Dragons, despite having Nick Cotric sent off.
Ricky Stuart's side powered to a 36-14 victory in Wollongong, where captain Jarrod Croker scored his 121st career try for Canberra to establish a new team record.
The Raiders bolted to a 26-0 lead in just 46 minutes with tries from Cotric, Croker, Joseph Tapine, Bailey Simonsson and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
Korbin Sims and Luciano Leilua trimmed the lead before Cotric was red-carded in the 58th minute by referee Ashley Klein for a dangerous tackle on Tim Lafai.
Siliva Havili nudged the Raiders further ahead moments later and Nicoll-Klokstad grabbed his second of the game before Matthew Dufty pulled back four points in the dying moments for the Dragons.
Jake Clifford booted a match-winning drop goal as North Queensland Cowboys came from behind to score a surprise 15-12 victory over Sydney Roosters, who slipped to fourth.
With team-mate Gavin Cooper making a 300th NRL appearance, Clifford made his decisive intervention to break a 12-12 tie, before adding a penalty after the full-time siren.
Sydney were slow starters and trailed 6-0 at the interval after Clifford's 14th-minute try, converted by Jordan Kahu. The hosts, sitting third before the game, found their rhythm early in the second half and surged ahead on the back of tries from Jake Friend and Brett Morris, only to be pegged back level at 12-12 when John Asiata crossed and Clifford added the extras.
Clifford provided the late heroics, bissecting the posts from the 30-metre line with a minute left on the clock, inflicting a fifth defeat in seven on the faltering Roosters.
Brad Takairangi plundered a hat-trick for the Parramatta Eels in their 30-18 win over Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium. The powerful centre crossed out wide in the 32nd, 35th and 71st minutes, with his physicality too much for the Tigers to handle.
Blake Ferguson also dotted down for the Eels, with Mitchell Moses booting 14 points. David Nofoaluma scored twice for Wests, Corey Thompson and Robert Jennings also going over.