The Canberra Raiders have gone down to the New Zealand Warriors 20-16 at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night.
The result was in the balance right until the end with the Raiders having two tries disallowed in the last ten minutes.
After a back and forth opening ten minutes Sam Williams kicked a superb 40-20 to earn the Raiders some fantastic field position and Josh Papalii capitalised, crashing over for a try just two tackles later.
A little over 20 minutes into the contest the Warriors hit back when Solomone Kata scored after bursting through a gap left by Joey Leilua who had misread the backline move and come in to target a decoy runner.
The Warriors had their second try when Peta Hiku made a half-break before throwing a pinpoint no-look flick pass to an unmarked David Fusitua who scored.
Moments before halftime the Warriors spread the ball to the left only for Leilua to read the play perfectly and come out of the line to smash Mason Lino in a huge hit that ensured Canberra would head into the break with all the momentum even though scores were level at 8-all.
It was the Warriors who would come out of the sheds firing though and Shaun Johnson immediately took the ball to the line, drawing in two defenders, before putting Hiku through a gap to score.
The Raiders proceeded to score one of the tries of the season when Jordan Rapana never gave up on a Josh Hodgson grubber and jumped from the field of play before knocking back the ball as it crossed touch in-goal and just as it looked like Kata would clean-up for the Warriors the ball slipped out of his hands and Whitehead was there to dive on the loose ball and score.
As the match entered the final ten minutes the Raiders looked to snatch the lead when Rapana made a break down the sideline and cross-field kicked for Blake Austin, but it was ruled Austin knocked the ball on before grounding it.
Just a minute later it seemed as though Williams had scored after dummying his way through the line, but the bunker again ruled no try, this time ruling that there was an obstruction.
New Zealand Warriors 20 (Tries: Kata, Fusitua, Hiku Goals: Johnson 4/6) def Canberra Raiders 16 (Tries: Papalii, Whitehead Goals: Williams 4/4)