Josh Hodgson of the Raiders is congratulated by Luke Bateman (left) and Clay Priest after scoring a try during the round 26 NRL match between the West Tigers and the Canberra Raiders at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. (AAP Image/Paul Miller) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Josh Hodgson of the Raiders is congratulated by Luke Bateman (left) and Clay Priest after scoring a try during the round 26 NRL match between the West Tigers and the Canberra Raiders at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. (AAP Image/Paul Miller) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PAUL MILLER

Green Machine red-hot for NRL finals series

CANBERRA will hit the NRL finals as the team to fear after repelling a desperate Wests Tigers playing for its survival in front of a packed Leichhardt Oval home crowd.

The Green Machine, with hooker Josh Hodgson in outstanding form and edge forward Josh Papalii in a menacing mood, scored eight tries to two in the 52-10 win after leading 30-4 at half-time.

The win edged Canberra into second spot, setting up a first-round home final against Cronulla who buckled to the ruthless Melbourne Storm in the battle for the minor premiership.

Fullback Jack Weighton was put on report for a 70th minute shoulder charge which could cause coach Ricky Stuart some anxious moments.

Hodgson (pictured) was again outstanding, especially in the first half, adding further weight to predictions he could be the Dally M Player of the Year.

You could hear the wild cheering all the way from Canberra to the Gold Coast, with the Titans piggy-backed into the top eight by the ruthless Raiders who blitzed the Tigers with nine tries.

The win had even more merit with injured stars Blake Austin and Junior Paulo both watching from the sidelines.

The Raiders ran riot, with doubles to Josh Papalii and winger Jordan Rapana, who took his season tally to 20.

When young replacement Joseph Tapine swooped on a loose ball to score, the new-look Green Machine broke the club's previous best regular-season points tally set in 1994.

The champion side included current coach Stuart and internationals Laurie Daley, Steve Walters and Bradley Clyde in its star-studded line-up.

The other NRL finals clashes will feature defending premiers North Queensland on the road against Melbourne, Brisbane hosting the Titans in a local derby, and Penrith taking on the faltering Canterbury.

Cronulla received some huge news with the NRL's match review committee deeming Bulldogs hooker Michael Ennis had no charge to answer over a suspected shoulder charge from the loss to the Storm.

With Ennis escaping a charge, Stuart has every right to expect to have Weighton available for next weekend's clash with the Sharks in the judiciary is consistent.

Finals Series - Week One

Friday Sept 9

Qualifying Final 1 (5th v 8th),

Broncos v Titans at Suncorp Stadium

Saturday Sept 10

Qualifying Final 2 (2nd v 3rd),

Raiders v Sharks at GIO Stadium

Saturday Sept 10

Elimination Final 2 (1st v 4th),

Storm v Cowboys at AAMI Park

Sunday Sept 11

Elimination Final 1 (6th v 7th),

Bulldogs v Panthers at Allianz Stadium



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