Blake Austin pushed his NSW Origin claims with a stellar three-try performance to lead the Raiders to a 44-22 win over the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
The livewire five-eighth scored a try and set-up another as Canberra led 24-10 at halftime.
Austin had a slight limp at the break, but showed no signs of injury as he delivered the decisive blows for the Raiders with tries in the 55th and 60th minutes in the round 13 NRL game.
Out to end their losing streak at three games, the Raiders led 18-0 in the 21st minute courtesy of a double from winger Edrick Lee and a try to fullback Jack Wighton.
Lee was gifted a try off an Austin break and kick through in the fourth minute before climbing high to mark a Williams bomb and score.
The conversion of the opening try took Jarrod Croker to 1000 NRL points and he added two more from a penalty in the 14th minute.
The Raiders looked set for a rout when Wighton crossed untouched from a Williams pass in the 20th minute, but the Knights rallied.
Winger Akuila Uate burrowed through a wall of defenders to score in the 26th minute and Joey Leilua grabbed a Kurt Gidley grubber in the 30th to make it 18-10.
Much of the Knights’ good work was undone when Josh Papalii waltzed through a gaping hole to score off a Williams pass in the 39th minute.
Newcastle started the better in the second half and scored via Sione Mata’utia in the 46th minute after Uate knocked back a Gidley chip.
Austin then scored from a Sisa Waqa knock-back off a Williams kick before throwing a dummy and stepping through for his hat-trick.
Dane Gagai edged over for the Knights in the 64th minute to make it 36-22, but a Croker penalty and converted try sealed the deal.
The win was Canberra’s sixth this season and the loss was Knights’ eighth in their past nine games.