League: Raiders in full stride to the playoffs

Raiders 46 Titans 4

The Raiders were favourites to earn the wooden spoon this season but the Canberra outfit are more likely to be contesting the playoffs instead.

Last night, they dismantled a Titans team that has slipped badly off the pace in recent weeks, unable to cope with the loss of a host of players including co-captains Scott Prince and Luke Bailey.

It had been thought the Raiders might be pushed off their stride last night after the controversy surrounding Todd Carney and Bronx Goodwin, who were stood down indefinitely following their involvement in late-night, alcohol-fuelled incidents after last weekend's win over the Roosters.

But the Raiders didn't miss a beat and, despite conceding the first try of the match to hard-working Titans second rower Anthony Laffranchi in the 13th minute, piled on 44 unanswered points.

They led 22-4 at halftime and attacked with the sort of purpose and confidence that comes with four wins in six games, and two on the bounce.

Five-eighth Terry Campese was imperious, stepping up in the absence of Carney and leaving the visitors spellbound.

The nephew of former Australian rugby winger David Campese often ran on the last play or put through deft kicks the Titans found impossible to deal with.

It has taken some time for him to make his mark on the NRL, given he had played only 21 games for the Raiders before this season since making his debut in 2004.

He got the Raiders going last night with a beautiful run and swerve on a last play before a deft pass to David Milne in the 17th minute and also chimed in with seven conversions.

Raiders 46 (C. Best 2, D. Milne, M. Herbert, J. Carney, J. Picker, B. Jones, A. Purtell tries, T. Campese 7 gls) Titans 4 (A. Laffranchi try). HT: 22-4.

THE WARRIORS have signed Tongan international second rower Ukuma Ta'ai from Fox Memorial side Mt Albert for the 2009 season.

The 21-year-old is said to be a powerful player in the mould of Epalahame Lauaki - a rugged ball carrier and punishing on defence - and has been training with the Warriors for a month. He also impressed Auckland Vulcans coach Bernie Perenara, who has given him a couple of games for the Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup.

Rumours out of Australia also suggest the Warriors have signed a young hooker who is yet to make his NRL debut. With Nathan Fien and Ian Henderson off contract at the end of next season, the club were keen to add a promising young rake to the squad.

Last week, Fien was granted permission to explore options in the UK next season, after he was told he was not in the club's plans beyond 2009.

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