Canberra have handed Wests Tigers their sixth straight NRL loss and biggest of the season by far with a brutal 60-6 win at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
Hooker Josh Hodgson was a standout and winger Jordan Rapana scored four stunning tries as the Raiders more than made up for two recent dismal performances against Parramatta and Cronulla.
Englishman Hodgson had four try assists and was as influential as ever around the ruck, justifying his lead in the Dally M Medal count heading into this round.
Coach Ricky Stuart called on his forwards to “man up” this week and that they did, no doubt impressing the 100-plus past players watching from the stands – including club legends Craig Bellamy and Mal Meninga.
Paul Vaughan and Josh Papalii led the way, with Vaughan scoring a try and clocking up 172m from 18 runs.
Rapana and BJ Leilua (two tries) were again a lethal combination on the right edge as both crossed for four-pointers multiple times.
The Raiders failed to score in the first half against the Eels and Sharks in their previous two games and conceded 76 points, but made sure there was no repeat of that in front of 13,420 home fans on Saturday.
They scored two tries in the opening 10 minutes via Elliott Whitehead and Shannon Boyd, with Rapana adding another two for a 22-6 lead at the break.
Skipper Jarrod Croker closed in on the club’s all-time point-scoring record with eight conversions and a try early in the second half, which was followed quickly by tries to Vaughan, Leilua, Rapana and Aidan Sezer.
The only sour note was an ankle injury to Joe Tapine, while the Tigers also had apparent injuries to Dene Halatau (thumb) and Kevin Naiqama (concussion).
The Tigers had not lost six games in a row since 2014.
They next play South Sydney on Thursday and the Raiders travel to Bathurst to play Penrith next Saturday.