Canberra Raiders 24
Potentially serious injuries to Chris Lawrence and Lote Tuqiri took the gloss off a Benji Marshall masterclass as Wests Tigers flexed their NRL premiership muscle with a 34-24 win over Canberra on Saturday.
Marshall put on a show for the Campbelltown Stadium faithful as he set up three of his side's six tries, adding a 40-20 to boot in a simply brilliant display as the Raiders slumped to back-to-back losses.
But the Tigers face the prospect of being without their left edge for an extended period, with the club saying Tuqiri suffered a suspected broken forearm and Lawrence a hip injury which left him writhing on the ground in pain before he was stretchered from the field.
While the Tigers are left counting the cost of their win, the Raiders are searching for answers with their round one win over Cronulla a distant memory.
Veteran recruit Matt Orford endured a night he'd rather forget, his one bright spot being a long run downfield before finding Blake Ferguson who completed his hat-trick two minutes from fulltime.
But the outcome had long been decided by that point.
Already comfortable 18-4 leaders when Tuqiri left the field in the 50th minute, the Tigers went on with the job in the second stanza, with three tries in the space of 13 minutes nullifying a potential Raiders fightback.
Chris Heighington started the rot as he brushed through some soft defence in the 56th minute before a Marshall cut-out pass found Blake Ayshford all alone out wide three minutes later.
When Andrew Fifita ran 40 metres - which included a brilliant fend on late inclusion Josh Dugan - to make it 34-10, the Tigers were on a roll before their momentum came to a grinding halt with Lawrence's ugly departure when he fell awkwardly in a tackle.
Ferguson scored his second for the night with a trademark freakish touchdown while Dugan capped his first game of the NRL season with a late four-pointer.
It was all Marshall early as he showed brilliant hands to set up Lawrence and Matt Utai for first half tries, halfback Robert Lui getting the other with a clever 'show and go' move.
Wests Tigers 34 (B Ayshford A Fifita C Heighington C Lawrence R Lui M Utai tries B Marshall 5 goals) bt Canberra 24 (B Ferguson 3 J Dugan D Vidot tries J Croker 2 goals) at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. Referee: Jason Robinson, Chris James. Crowd: 14,091.