The Canberra Raiders have drawn their first Jersey Flegg game of the season with against the Victorian Thunderbolts 21-21 at GIO Stadium on Friday afternoon.
The Raiders were in prime position to win the match, yet a field goal after the siren scuppered their chances to clinch a first round win.
An injury to halfback Toby Westcott early on in the match only added insult to injury for the Green Machine, who played in the lime green for the first time in the Jersey Flegg competition.
An early try against the Raiders put them on the back foot, after Thunderbolts captain Matt Stimson broke through their defence to run 40 metres and score under the posts.
The Thunderbolts doubled their lead seven minutes later after winger Christopher Schwalger latched onto a cut-out pass and crossed over the line in the corner.
The Thunderbolts added to their score ten minutes before halftime, after converting a penalty 20 metres from the Canberra goal line.
Three successive penalties to the Green Machine gave them a great attacking position, with hooker Kyle Paterson muscling past the defence to put them on the board.
Gideon Afemui brought the Green Machine back into the game before half time, beating the Thunderbolts right defensive side exactly like Paterson.
Canberra started the second half off with a bang as Harley Smith-Shields was able to score straight after the scrum feed 20 metres out, giving the Raiders the lead for the first time in the match.
The Thunderbolts restored their lead after a full field counter-attack was finished off by fullback Troy Hanita-Paki, who chased onto Antonio Sanele’s grubber.
The Green Machine fought back almost immediately as winger Bringham Moeokiola crashed over the try line, however Jarrett Subloo was unable to convert, meaning the teams were tied heading into the final five minutes.
Subloo made up for the missed conversion however, knocking home a field goal from 25 metres out.
Yet it wasn’t enough, as Thunderbolts halfback Trent Toelau scored a field goal after the siren to clinch the draw, much to the Raiders dismay.
Canberra Raiders 21 (Tries: Paterson, Afemui, Smith-Shields, Moeokiola. Goals: Wescott 1/1, Subloo 1/3. Field Goals: Subloo 1/1) drew
Thunderbolts 21 (Tries: Stimson, Schwalger. Goals: Stimson 4/4. Field Goals: Toelau 1/1)