Raiders claim thriller
by Brent Ford
An extra time heart stopping try to Jordan Rapana has seen the Canberra Raiders record an extraordinary 29-25 comeback victory over the Newcastle Knights.
The win, the biggest comeback for the year. It was dèjà vu for the sides as it was the second time this year the match went to Golden Point.
A misguided field goal in the 85th minute wrong footed Dane Gagai, allowing a charging Rapana to score the match winner.
Many predicted this game would be a forgone conclusion, with the Raiders winning four of their last five, while the Knights sat at the bottom of the NRL table.
But it was a first half blitz from Newcastle who were out to a 22-nil lead after just 24 minutes. There was a number of concerns for the Raiders as well with Shannon Boyd, Rapana and Jarrod Croker all leaving the field at different moments in the first half.
The door was left open for the Raiders heading into half time, with Blake Austin slicing through for a try, with Aidan Sezer converting. With the Knights holding a 22-6 lead after the opening stanza
Trent Hodkinson converted a penalty early in the second half to extend the lead to 18 points. But the Raiders came back with their never say die attitude.
With a bit of razzle dazzle football seeing Jack Wighton go over, with Croker converting the try.
Croker then closed the gap further following a wonderful set piece. Nathan Ross then gave the Raiders a golden chance through a penalty, but they were unable to make the most of it.
The Green Machine faithful were then sent into a frenzy as Croker went up high, catching a Sezer bomb with five to go.
He converted his own try, and much like in round 3 it was 24 all! Blake Austin and Hodkinson then traded field goals, sending the game into extra time.
It was Canberra with the first chance, but Sezer's shot was away to the left and over the deadball line.
Jack Cogger was next to have a go but his kick was charged down. A good set had the Raiders in perfect field position, the last pass to Austin a poor one but a charge down allowed the Raiders another set of six
What a set of events after that. Austin with another shot off the side of his boot. It wrong footed Gagai, with Rapana coming through and snatching the game for the Raiders.
The win moves the Raiders to one point outside of the top four, in one of the most thrilling wins in recent memories.
Canberra Raiders 29 (Tries; Croker 2, Austin, Wighton, Croker; goals Croker 3, Sezer; field goal Austin)
Defeated Newcastle Knights 25 (Tries; S. Mata'utia, Sims, Mamo, P. Mata'utia; goals Hodkinson 4; field goal Hodkinson)
pic source - rugbyleagueweek.com.au