The Canberra Raiders arrived in New Plymouth after two heart-breaking NRL losses.
Penrith edged them with Peter Wallace’s last-minute field goal and then St George Illawarra felled them with a golden-point try.
That meant just two wins for the Raiders in their previous eight games, but they bounced back in style on Saturday night, thumping the Warriors 38-12 to go into the top eight.
While skipper Jarrod Croker welcomed the victory, he says the Raiders never lost their belief after the defeats to the Panthers and the Dragons.
“The win’s good, but we certainly weren’t lacking in confidence or anything,” he said.
“We put in a massive effort the last three or four weeks and just haven’t got the results. We knew it was going to turn if we kept working hard.”
Canberra’s tenacious defence was a feature of their performance against the Warriors and it helped them to a commanding 22-0 lead at halftime.
Croker had a word of praise for the kicking game of Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin.
“I thought our halves kicked quite well and we defended off the back of that,” he said.
“Our middles worked very hard and got off the line, and that just made life easy for the rest of us.”
Last weekend, the 25-year-old Croker overtook David Furner to be Canberra’s all-time leading points scorer.
At Yarrow Stadium, he grabbed one of the Raiders’ six tries to take his tally to 87 and go to third equal with Laurie Daley among the club’s tryscorers.
It also continued his prolific run against the Warriors. In 13 games against them, he has touched down 13 times, his most against any team.