The future looks bright for Canberra after young star Xavier Savage put in a starring performance for the Raiders, who edged out the Cronulla Sharks 34-18 in the Gold Coast.
Playing in just his third NRL game to date at fullback, Savage gave Canberra fans a glimpse of what’s to come in the future as the Raiders kept their finals hopes alive with their second consecutive win.
Savage looked impossible to stop nearly every time he ran the ball, finishing the match with 246 run metres, nine tackle-breaks, two line-breaks and a try.
With scores locked early in the second half, the 19-year-old made one of the most crucial runs of the game when he found a little bit of space to make a big break and set up a try for star teammate Jack Wighton.
Young Raider’s brilliance sets up try
“You’ve got to say, a star is born here,” Andrew Voss said on commentary for Fox League.
“The X-factor, Xavier Savage. Sensational!”
“We’re watching a kid set the stadium alight.”
Savage after the match admitted tonight’s performance felt like a dream come true.
“It’s everything you dream of since you’re a kid,” Savage told Fox League after the match.
“I’m still getting used to it obviously, but it’s good to be learning from a couple of the best in the game and be around a great bunch of boys.”
With first-choice fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad out due to a season-ending neck injury, Savage’s emergence couldn’t have come at a better time for the club.
“Timely too for the Raiders when you think who they have lost at the fullback position,” rugby league great Cooper Cronk said after the match.
“They need some spark to finish off some tries.”
For the Raiders, who needed a win tonight to keep in touch with the top eight, they move up to the ninth spot on the NRL ladder.
While the loss for the Sharks hasn’t done too much damage at the moment, with Cronulla still remaining in the eighth spot.