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Sport Brawl mars Canberra Raiders Cup season opener between Queanbeyan Blues and Yass Magpies

01:21  06 april  2018
01:21  06 april  2018 Source:   theage.com.au

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Queanbeyan Blues' Terry Campese gets sent off.© Jamila Toderas Queanbeyan Blues' Terry Campese gets sent off. The biff was back at Canberra Stadium after an all-in brawl marred the Canberra Raiders Cup season opener on the big stage Thursday night.

Five players were given their marching orders, including Queanbeyan Blues coach Terry Campese, after numerous punches were thrown following Jake Stein's high tackle on Yass prop Saipani Aiolupo.

It meant the game finished 11-on-10 after three Blues - Campese, Michael Cullen and Jake Wheeler - and two Magpies - Mitch Edwards and Benny Warner - got their marching orders with 25 minutes to go.

The Blues held on 23-18 in a thriller, with Yass coming home with a wet sail and a numerical advantage.

The NRL-standard players stuck in reserve grade

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It was the first of two Canberra Raiders Cup games that will be curtain raisers for Raiders' NRL games this season.

"Obviously our boys were defending up and put a big shot on, tempers flared, one of their blokes came in from the side king hitting so I grabbed him and we got worse off [in the sending offs]," Campese said sporting a cut lip that needed stitches.

The Blues scored the opening two tries through Wheeler and Campese, before Yass hooker Jacob Toppin hit back to get the visitors on the board.

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  NRL talking points: Aidan Sezer stars for Canberra Raiders against Canterbury Bulldogs With one man on the bench for the final 25 minutes, the Raiders hung tough.They've been branded mentally weak by some of rugby league's greatest minds, but on this night the Canberra Raiders were anything but.

Campese kicked a field goal after the half-time siren to make it 11-4 at the break, with Blues winger Larry Manu crossing the stripe to put the home team in control before tempers flared.

Despite being a man down, the Blues increased their lead through an Adam Misios try, before Shaun Davis, Tom Warner and Jesse Collins scored tries for Yass to make an exciting final 34 seconds.

Yass coach Jarrad Teka was disappointed with his team's "football smarts" and thought they let the game slip, as well as being disappointed the fight marred the chance to play on the big stage.

He also felt if Aisea Taholo's shoulder charge in the lead-up to the high shot had've been penalised the brawl might never have happened.

"It could've been avoided, two tackles before, a bloke from Queanbeyan comes in with a shoulder charge and gets away with it," Teka said.

"Obviously it picks up from there ... it was a bit of a shame to see it happen on a night like this."

QUEANBEYAN BLUES 23 (Jake Wheeler, Terry Campese, Larry Manu, Adam Misios tries; Campese 2, Zachary Patch goals; Campese field goal) bt YASS MAGPIES 18 (Jacob Toppin, Shaun Davis, Tom Warner, Jesse Collins tries; Toppin goal).

Raider to front court over nightclub incident .
Canberra's Jack Wighton is set to face court on a string of charges from an incident at a nightclub. The news comes a week after reports first broke of the Raiders fullback being under investigation for an alleged assault that occurred prior to the 2018 NRL season.According to The Daily Telegraph, coach Ricky Stuart is set to name Wighton in his 21-man squad for Saturday's game against Parramatta despite the upcoming appearance in court.

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