The Canberra Raiders have fallen 21-20 in Golden Point to the Cronulla Sharks in front of 9,853 spectators at GIO Stadium.
Following an impressive win over the Newcastle Knights in Round 18, the Raiders were well below par against the Sharks with ill-discipline and a lack of cohesion in attack severely affecting their play.
The Sharks opened the scoring in the 7th minute when a cut-out pass from Luke Lewis found winger Valentine Holmes who made the most of the open space in front of him to score in the corner. The conversion from Michael Gordon was successful for a 6-0 score line.
The Sharks extended their lead by kicking a penalty goal through Gordon after three straight penalties were given away from the Raiders.
Cronulla were able to get across the line again in the 19th minute when the Sharks found space out wide and got across the line through Ricky Leutele. Gordon was unsuccessful with the conversion attempt leaving the Sharks with a 12 point lead.
The Green Machine was able to get onto the scoreboard in the 22nd minute after a grubber kick by Jack Wighton was mishandled by the Knights and the Raiders spread the ball out to Edrick Lee who scored in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful from Jarrod Croker leaving the score line at 12-4.
Both sides were unable to add to the scoreboard before half-time to leave the score at 12-4 at the break. The main event from the remainder of the first half was that Shannon Boyd was placed on report for adding pressure to the neck of Luke Lewis.
The Raiders started the second half strongly and opened the scoring in the 43rd minute when Blake Austin popped a nice short ball to Josh Papalii who spun out of one tackle and held off another two to get across the line to score. The conversion from Croker was successful to reduce the gap to two points.
Cronulla were able to restore their lead in the 51st minute however when Michael Ennis was able to put Andrew Fifita into a gap to score. Gordon converted for an 18-10 score line.
The Raiders refused to give up and crossed in the 62nd minute thought when a delicate grubber kick from Josh Hodgson out of dummy half was pounced on by Lee who scored his second try for the day after winning the race to the ball. Croker converted to once again bring the game back to a two point deficit.
Canberra continued to fight back and the score was levelled when Croker was successful with a penalty goal in the 70th minute making it 18-18.
After another penalty was awarded following a strip from the Sharks, Croker took another shot at goal and was successful to give the Raiders the lead for the first time in the game.
Alas, the Sharks received a penalty right in front of the posts after having a try disallowed and it was converted by Gordon to send the game to extra time.
Within two minutes of Golden Point, Cronulla grabbed the win after Holmes kicked a field goal to seal a 21-20 win to the Sharks.
Man of the Match: Josh Hodgson
Cronulla Sharks 21 (Holmes, Leutele, Fifita Tries; Gordon 4/5 Goals, Holmes Field Goal) defeated Canberra Raiders 20 (Lee 2, Papalii Tries; Croker 4/5 Goals)