Bush-wacked: Injuries wreak havoc as Raiders belt Panthers in Wagga

Penrith pair Viliame Kikau and Isaah Yeo, and Canberra star John Bateman, might be sidelined for some time after an afternoon of NRL carnage in Wagga Wagga.

James Maloney could face suspension after being reported for lifting as the Panthers' dismal season continued on Saturday with a 30-12 defeat.

Close enough: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad of the Raiders muscles his way across the line at McDonald Park in Wagga Wagga.Credit:AAP

Hudson Young sealed the win with his maiden try late, entrenching Ricky Stuart's side in the top four.

Stuart was unable to shed more light on Bateman, however praised his big men for standing up in the absence of their key forward.

"There are some guys there I thought that really stood up and made a presence today," Stuart said post-game.

"Elliott Whitehead was one of them, Josh Papalii and Ryan Sutton. They really stood up and took their game to another level because they knew Batty was off."

Heated: A melee breaks out between Penrith and the Raiders.Credit:AAP

For the disappointing Panthers, another crushing defeat has left their campaign on life support despite only being one-third of the way into the season.

Coach Ivan Cleary has just two wins from their opening two months since his controversial return.

No side has won a premiership from such a lowly position.

Canberra took their game to the country, and the Panthers obliged by putting on a display of bush footy to be down 14-0 at half-time.

Regrouping: The Panthers take in another defeat in a disappointing season so far.Credit:AAP

From late shots on kickers, a line dropout going out on the full and piggybacks after strong sets, the Raiders made them pay on each occasion.

And the one time they had a reprieve – when Nikoll-Klokstad was binned for a professional foul – Canberra scored despite being a man down.

A fortunate Nathan Cleary try in the 49th minute put the visitors back into the match, only for Moses Leota to turn it over in the return set.

Penrith lost Kikau soon after when his right leg was caught awkwardly under a Whitehead tackle, momentarily halting the game.

Making matters worse, Maloney and teammate Liam Martin were put on report for lifting Josh Hodgson past the horizontal.

Cleary also couldn't give more information on his injuries, but admitted their likely absence would test his squad's character moving forward.

"We'll just get back on the horse. That's how you've got to look at it. Injuries come and go. It's going to give someone else an opportunity," he said.

"As a team, we're getting pretty tested right now – we'll see what we're made of."


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