Ricky Stuart’s Canberra Raiders were able to find something after trailing by 14 points at half time to run over the top of the struggling New Zealand Warriors and record a 26-14 victory on Saturday Afternoon.
After a brave victory down in Melbourne, Canberra returned back home to GIO stadium looking to make it two on the trot.
The Warriors made the trip down on the back of their 12th loss of the season, hopeful for a Saturday Afternoon upset to head home with.
Jack Murchie got the travellers off to a “rapid fire start” as summarised by Warren Smith, as he burrowed over the line to create an early 6-0 lead against the side he previously played three matches for.
Xavier Savage practically handed New Zealand the second try of the game after misjudging the high ball on his own line which hit him square in the face.
The Warriors took the chance with both hands as Daejarn Asi stormed over to take complete advantage of their early momentum.
It took just shy of ten minutes for the hosts to get possession of the footy but it sparked 15 minutes of quality defence from both sides, and the score remained.
Shaun Johnson nailed a penalty goal from 40 metres to extend their lead even further with not long over ten minutes to play in the first half.
Five errors proved to be the main contributor to Canberra’s first half struggles, as they dealt no impact on the scoreboard in the opening half.
The home fans could go into half time without too much concern with the last three matches between the two sides having the halftime trailers go on to win the match.
The second half began perfectly for the Raiders on the back of a Jack Wighton 40/20 which led to Canberra’s first try through Albert Hopoate in the right corner.
The Warriors kept their heads down for the following ten minutes and looked locked in at the task at hand as they managed to complete consecutive sets and continue grinding the clock down.
Canberra cut the deficit down to just four points after generating something from nothing on their left edge through Sebastian Kris.
Jamal Fogarty slotted the conversion from the sideline and gave the home fans something to be hopeful for with 20 minutes to play.
Wighton made it even more known that his side could smell blood with another 40/20 which would go on to set up an equalising try from Corey Harawira-Naera.
Fogarty’s conversion gave the home side the lead with 14 minutes to play, and it appeared difficult to see the Warriors recovering.
Momentum was well and truly flowing for the Raiders, as Harawira-Naera added another one to his tally just centimetres inside the dead-ball line on the other end of a Fogarty grubber.
Fogarty’s conversion granted his side an eight point buffer.
The final minutes of the game saw Canberra further their lead to 12 points from two penalty kicks, which created an eventual final scoreline of 26-14.
The victory gave the Raiders something to continue playing for, going equal with the Roosters and Sea-Eagles on points, to set up an exciting run home for the finals.
They find themselves in a very winnable game next Saturday afternoon against Gold Coast on the road.
The Warriors will have well and truly conceded this season, as their record slips to 5-13.
They will return home to Auckland to take on an out-of-form Melbourne Storm on Friday.
Despite being down at the break, Ricky Stuart challenged his Raiders side to prove their mettle and complete the comeback.
“I said to them at half time ‘we have been challenged now’, I said ‘we just turned this into a long game and if you are patient and don’t get frustrated and over try, we can still win this game’,” Stuart said.
Warriors coach Stacey Jones had a similar message, that being for his side to match the momentum of the Raiders. Though as the scoreline got away from them, they did not achieve it.
“We challenged the group at half time that Canberra are going to come out with something and we have got to go with them, and unfortunately we didn’t,” said Jones.
Canberra Raiders 26
A.Hopoate, S.Kris, C.Harawira-Naera (2)
Conversions- J.Fogarty 3/4
Penalty goals- J.Fogarty 2/2
New-Zealand Warriors 14
J.Murchie, D. Asi
Conversions- S.Johnson 2/2
Penalty Goals- S.Johnson 1/1
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Jack Wighton (CAN)
2. Joseph Tapine (CAN)
1. Josh Papalii (CAN)