The Canberra Raiders final hopes are alive and kicking following another road win, this time defeating the Penrith Panthers by 34-24 at Pepper Stadium.
The game was a back and forth affair with neither team able to assert any real dominance on the scoreboard, with the biggest margin between the two teams being the ten point final margin.
Two tries each to Jordan Rapana and big forward Paul Vaughan saw the Green Machine able to fight for dominance in a close game. Edrick Lee added the cherry on top with some individual brilliance at the end of the match, when quick thinking saw him save a try and then score one in the same play to seal the win.
The Panthers were first to get off the mark in the 5th minute. Elijah Taylor was able to score after he received a pass in the open and used his strength to get across the line. The conversion from Jamie Soward was successful for a 6-0 lead to Penrith.
The Raiders were able to level the scoring after capitalising on a Penrith mistake. An error in the play the ball gave the Raiders the ball back 20 metres out. The Green Machine were able to create an overlap on the wing and scored in the corner through Rapana. The conversion from Jarrod Croker was successful to bring the game back to 6-6.
The Panthers crossed in the 18th minute to take back the lead. Isaah Yeo crossed after Penrith were able to recover their last tackle kick and with the conversion from Soward being successful the Panthers were back in the lead 12-6.
The back and forth try scoring continued with the Raiders crossing in the 20th minute. Vaughan was able to use his size and strength to get across the line after a short run at the line and score his first of the game. Croker was successful with the conversion to make it 12-12.
The game continued to be end to end with Penrith again taking the lead in the 25th minute. James Segeyaro was put into space after an offload from Peter Wallace and made a short run and the line to score under the post. It was a six point advantage after Soward converted.
Some great play from the Raiders saw them once again able to level the score. After a great burst of speed from Blake Austin who ran 40 metres before passing off to Croker who found Shaun Fensom who was able to cross. Croker converted to make the score level again at 18 points all.
After a battle between the two sides to try and grab the lead the Raiders were finally able to open the scoring in the second half. Vaughan crossed at close range for the second time in that match after the Raiders found space in the Panthers defensive line. The conversion from Croker saw the Raiders grab a six point lead.
It was the Panthers turn to level the scoring when they crossed in the 63rd minute. Robert Jennings was able to score in the corner after some quick passing found him in space out wide. Soward converted to make the score 24-24.
Some heads up play from the Raiders saw them again take the lead in the 66th minute. Joseph Leilua ran the ball on the final tackle and passed off to Rapana who was in open space to score his second of the day. The conversion was missed by Croker however so the lead was left at four points.
A fantastic solo effort saw the Raiders able to grab the biggest lead in the game in the 75th minute. Edrick Lee was able to charge down a Wallace kick and run 80 metres to score under the post after great Raiders defence put the Panthers under pressure. The conversion from Croker was successful to give the Raiders a ten point lead and more importantly the two competition points.
Canberra Raiders 34 (Vaughan 2, Rapana 2, Fensom, Lee Tries; Croker 5/6 Goals) defeated Penrith Panthers 24 (Taylor, Yeo, Segeyaro, Jennings Tries; Soward 4/4 Goals)