NRL: Canberra Raiders roll on with win over Brisbane Broncos

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart says more mature players are behind the club's best start to an NRL season since 2003.

The Raiders kept rolling with a hard-fought 26-22 victory against Brisbane on Sunday to put them on 5-1 and sitting on equal points with competition leaders Melbourne, the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney.

"That was a massive effort," Stuart said.

"They're a lot more mature group this year. They're an easier team to coach this year because I feel that there's individuals growing up.

"You don't have to baby blokes as much, when you've got a little bit of depth you don't have to pat blokes on the back, you can be a little bit more honest to them."

The 1-5 Broncos have slumped their worst start after six rounds this century, but coach Anthony Seibold believes they're improving.

"It was a small step in the right direction, we completed at 83 per cent tonight. I thought defensively we were much better with our first contact and showed a lot of spirit," Seibold said.

"It's a little bit frustrating at the moment and there's probably some guys feeling a little bit sorry for themselves, but we're having a red-hot crack."

The Raiders dominated the opening exchanges on at Canberra Stadium and skipper Jarrod Croker put winger Nick Cotric into the corner to score on six minutes.

The Broncos had their first attacking chance just inside 20 minutes and Kodi Nikorima made the most of it, sliding through with a simple dummy to draw level.

Raiders star Joey Leilua responded with some individual brilliance to beat four defenders en route to scoring on the half-hour in front of 17,193 fans.

The Dally M centre of the year bagged a double just four minutes later after Brisbane fullback Darius Boyd was forced to bat the ball into touch due to relentless pressure from three chasers.

England international John Bateman gave a sensational offload to Leilua and Croker converted for a 14-4 lead after 34 minutes.

Canberra picked up where they left off in the second half but Brisbane crossed first when teenager David Fifita made the most of an overlap in the 50th minute.

Broncos playmaker Anthony Milford had the ball on a string against his former side and put Corey Oates in the corner with a pinpoint kick and the Broncos went ahead, 16-14, for the first time.

But the Raiders weren't done and Bateman darted out of dummy-half to score his first try for Canberra before his countryman Ryan Sutton sealed the result in the 66th minute.

Brisbane centre Jack Bird scored in the final two minutes to set up a grandstand finish but the Raiders held on. 

AAP 

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