NRL: Canberra Raiders beat injury-hit Penrith Panthers

Nick Cotric.
Nick Cotric. Photo credit: Image: Getty

Penrith pair Viliame Kikau and Isaah Yeo, and Canberra star John Bateman, might be sidelined for a lengthy period after an afternoon of NRL carnage in Wagga Wagga.

James Maloney could also be looking at some time out after being put on report for lifting as the Panthers' dismal season continued on Saturday afternoon with a 30-12 defeat.

Kikau (leg) and Yeo (shoulder) both exited inside an hour, while winger Malakai Watene-Zelezniak also succumbed to a suspected rib injury.

Bateman was taken to hospital with a possible fractured eye socket.

It was a gutsy victory for the Raiders, who were already without Jordan Rapana and lost key centre Joseph Leilua pre-game to a neck issue.

They also had to overcome the first-half sin-binning of Charnze Nikoll-Klokstad, who bounced back with a crucial second-half try.

Hudson Young sealed the win with his maiden four-pointer late, lifting Ricky Stuart's side into second spot provisionally above Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters.

For the disappointing Panthers, it is another crushing defeat that has left their campaign on life support despite only being one-third of the way into the season.

Coach Ivan Cleary has just two wins from their opening two months since his controversial return to the foot of the mountains.

No side has won a premiership from such a lowly position.

Canberra took their game to the country, and the Panthers obliged by putting on a display of bush footy to be down 14-0 at halftime.

From late shots on kickers, a line dropout going out on the full and piggybacks after strong sets, the Raiders made them pay on each occasion.

And the one time they had a reprieve - when Nikoll-Klokstad was binned for a professional foul - it was Canberra who scored despite being a man down.

A fortunate try to Nathan Cleary in the 49th minute put the visitors back into the match, only for Moses Leota to turn it over in the return set.

Penrith lost Kikau soon after when his right leg was caught awkwardly under an Elliott Whitehead tackle, causing the game to be halted momentarily.

Making matters worse, Maloney, together with teammate Liam Martin, were put on report for lifting Josh Hodgson past the horizontal.

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