Raiders suffer narrow loss at GIO Stadium
The Canberra Raiders have suffered a 30-28 loss in front of 12,626 fans at GIO Stadium on Sunday night.
After an end to end start to the game, the Knights were first on the board ten minutes in with a Connor Watson short ball putting Aidan Guerra through the line.
A slick backline movement to the right saw Jordan Rapana touch down in the corner after a cut-out ball from Jack Wighton to level the game at 6-6.
A penalty in the set to follow saw Jarrod Croker add the two points to put the Raiders into the lead for the first time with 20 minutes remaining in the first half.
A dampener on proceedings three minutes later saw Joey Leilua assisted from the field with an ankle injury after being taken awkwardly in a tackle.
The Knights hit back to take the lead with Kalyn Ponga accelerating at the line and putting Lachlan Fitzgibbon over untouched.
A cross-field kick from Sam Williams saw Rapana leap above Nathan Ross and relay the ball back to makeshift centre Elliott Whitehead to level the scores at 12 apiece.
The Raiders were penalised for failing to pack the scrum in time and in the set to follow, the Knights regained the lead with a penalty goal from in front.
The final minute of the half saw the scores locked up again after a Blake Austin break resulted in a penalty allowing Jarrod Croker to convert the penalty goal.
The Raiders held possession for the first five minutes of the second half and eventually cracked the Knights defence with a Junior Paulo offload finding Elliott Whitehead to grab his second try.
Ponga set up another try, this time putting Tautau Moga through untouched to score next to the posts and level the score at 20.
A dropped ball over the line by Connor Watson saw an opportunity missed for the Knights to regain the lead.
A Sam Williams 40/20 saw the Raiders enter the opposition 20 and come away with a penalty goal to make the score 22-20 midway through the first half.
Fresh back onto the field, Siliva Havili freed an arm to offload opening up the Knights defence with Blake Austin finding Jarrod Croker to score under the posts and extend the lead to eight points.
A deft kick back inside by winger Nathan Ross saw Connor Watson make no mistake second time around, scoring a try to reduce the gap to two with just under 15 minutes to play.
With the game coming to a close, Mitchell Pearce laid the ball on a platter with a precise short ball for Sione Mata’utia to go over out wide and seal a 30-28 win for the Knights.
Newcastle Knights 30(Tries: Guerra, Fitzgibbon, Moga, Watson, Mata’utia Goals: Ponga 5/6) def Canberra Raiders 28 (Tries: Whitehead 2, Rapana, Croker Goals: Croker 6/7)