Raiders overpower Saints in NRL mismatch

Canberra have kept pace with the race for the NRL's top four as Jack Wighton starred and their middles dominated St George Illawarra with a 37-8 flogging.

JACK WIGHTON .
JACK WIGHTON . Picture: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Jack Wighton's superb season continued as Canberra kept pace with the NRL's top four in a clinical 37-8 win over St George Illawarra in Wollongong.

Wighton scored two tries to take his season tally to 10, again showing he is the most powerful running half in the competition when he takes the line on.

And while the Dragons defence was poor on Saturday and their middle faltered, Wighton and his Raiders teammates were there to capitalise every time.

After Hudson Young set the tone for the day when he ran in straight under the posts early, Wighton's first try came in more spectacular fashion.

Jordan Rapana ran onto a dream bounce from a George Williams kick, before he offloaded it back inside and Tapine eventually put the five-eighth over.

Wighton's second however exemplified the Dragons' struggles, when he hit a gaping hole from a simple Williams pass to stroll over.

In doing so, last year's Clive Churchill Medallist became the first half to reach 10 tries this year, three clear of the next best in Cody Walker.

"He hasn't been playing at five-eighth for a long time," coach Ricky Stuart said.

"It'd probably be a very good question for Darren Lockyer on going from fullback to five-eighth and making it in the two positions.

"Jack is a lot younger in his career switching (than Lockyer was) ... it's only been a year and a half now and I see the growth. There is a lot more in him."

Grand finalists last year, the Raiders appear to be timing their run into October nicely with four wins from their past five games.

Young and Joseph Tapine both marched through the middle, while Josh Papalii pulled off one of the hits of the year on Cameron McInnes.

They tore the Dragons apart on their right, as Elliott Whitehead helped Jarrod Croker to one with a grubber-kick and Ryan Sutton put John Bateman over for another.

Semi Valemei got the game's last try as Williams and Wighton combined to help leave the Dragons short for numbers with their winger the beneficiary.

The win means they still remain some hope of reaching the top four again, needing Parramatta to drop one of their last two to have any chance.

"I still feel as though there are areas in our attack that we still have huge improvement on," Stuart said.

"Whether we get there or not is up to the players."

The Dragons meanwhile were poor, with interim coach Dean Young admitting he and the players were embarrassed.

Rookie sensation Cody Ramsey scored a double in the first half but it was the only bright spot for the hosts.

"We try hard some of the time, but not all the time," Young said.

"Before today we'd let in 22 tries on the last tackle. We spoke about that ... and we let in another two tries. That's most of any side.

"We might try hard for four tackles, just not six.

"We're all a bit embarrassed by that performance."