Jordan Rapana's 100th NRL game was always going to be special. Well action packed at the very least. It turned out to be both.
He scored a double, set one up for his best mate Joey Leilua as the Canberra Raiders beat the North Queensland Cowboys 30-12 in Townsville on Saturday.
It's the Raiders' best start to a season since 2005, when the Green Machine won their opening four.
While "Leipana" were back to their exciting best are we seeing a new breed of Canberra Raiders? One that can hold on defensively when the tide has turned?
They withstood a ton of Cowboys pressure in the second half when the score was 18-12 before icing the game with two late tries.
While Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said it wasn't a pretty game, he was impressed with how his team got the job done.
He said that might not have happened in the past.
It's the second week in a row Canberra has withstood second-half pressure to defend their lead.
"We gave them a lot of opportunity to win there in the second half, but they were probably just a little bit worse than us," Stuart said.
"I don't think it was a real high-quality game of footy to watch … but it was a messy game we didn't play well in and won.
"Last year we lost those games."
Rapana almost scored off the Raiders' opening set, but that was only a taste of what was to come as the Green Machine flew out of the sheds.
Their forwards were immediately rolling down the field seemingly at will.
Canberra lock Ryan Sutton was leading the charge and amassed 100 run metres in the first half alone, finishing with 134m.
He's settled in nicely in the No.13 jersey while John Bateman fills in for Joe Tapine (thumb) in the second row.
The performance caught Stuart's eye as well.
"I thought Ryan Sutton was probably one of our best tonight, he played really well. I was really impressed with Ryan's game," he said.
"He carried tough and made some really big efforts in defence when he had to."
Raiders winger Nick Cotric opened the scoring, finishing off a sweeping move to the left.
But back to Rapana and scenes that only blokes with his name and that of his partner-in-crime can conjure.
A Sam Williams grubber led to a Leilua grubber, which Rapana was able to run on to to make 8-0 inside the first 10 minutes.
But this Raiders has a bit more defensive starch.
They held off four Cowboys sets in a row during one spell and they withstood more repeat sets on their own line late in the half – only to then turn the ball over and allow the Cowboys to cross wRead More – Source