The Canberra Raiders have capped off their return to the SCG with a famous 24-20 win over the Sydney Roosters in the Grand Final replay.
In their first game since the decider last year, the Raiders were able to get sweet revenge for last year’s heartbreak.
Missing seven starting played through injury, the Raiders were heroic in their first game at the SCG since the 1987 Grand Final.
The Green Machine had the first chance of the game after a forward pass thrown by Roosters hooker Jake Friend and threw plenty at the opposition try line.
After early pressure from the Raiders, the game turned into an arm wrestle and both sides put on a display of brutal defence.
Josh Papalii was forced off for a HIA after a big shot from Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, however Papalii was able to return.
The Roosters had their first opportunity on the Raiders line but a smart rake of the arm from Jack Wighton led to a forced error.
A penalty to the Raiders in the subsequent set gifted them valuable field territory and they seized the moment.
A beautiful offload from Joe Tapine after bumping off a few would-be tackles found a barnstorming Dunamis Lui, who scored under the posts.
The Roosters hit-back almost immediately after being gifted a penalty, Brett Morris crossed in the corner to level the scores at six a piece.
Canberra were put under a heap of pressure and the Roosters almost capitalised on Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad error, however it was ruled after a subsequent knock-on from Brett Morris.
A penalty in front for the Roosters after a high shot from Hudson Young gave them the lead courtesy of the boot of Kyle Flanagan.
A mountain of pressure of was put on the Raiders after consecutive penalties and six to go calls, but they were up to the challenge with Lui picking up a strip.
The Raiders would make an error the following set and the Roosters would continue to pepper the opposition try line.
Josh Morris had his second with ten minutes remaining in the half after a looping pass from Flanagan found the veteran winger in the corner.
Tom Starling was injected into the game and made an immediate impact with three massive tackles and forced an error inside the Roosters half.
The Raiders almost capitalised on the field territory two minutes before the break but Nicoll-Klokstad’s final pass was dropped by Jarrod Croker.
After an exhilarating first half, the Raiders went into sheds trailing 12-6 and took plenty of confidence leading into the second half.
Semi Valemi replaced Michael Oldfield at half time to make his NRL debut which forced Jordan Rapana to shift to right centre, with the Fijian flyer slotting outside of him.
The Raiders were gifted field territory after a late shot on Wighton led to a penalty five metres out from the Roosters line and they were first to score in the half.
A grubber from Nicoll-Klokstad found a flying Croker who planted the ball, he would convert his own try and the scores were level.
The Roosters hit the lead through a penalty goal moments later, after controversial call went against Josh Papalii for a swinging arm on Angus Crichton.
A penalty against Roosters captain Boyd Cordner gave the Raiders the perfect chance to hit back and that they did.
George Williams sliced through the Roosters defence to score under the black-dot and Croker had no problem adding the extras.
An error from Valemi inside the Raiders half the set after points invited the Roosters back into the game and they would make no mistake.
Matt Ikuvalu scored in the corner after a flick pass from Brett Morris, Flanagan made no mistake from the right-hand touch line to give his side the lead heading inside the final 20 minutes.
The Roosters continued to throw everything at the Raiders and looked to have a penalty, but a successful captain’s challenge from Croker gave the Raiders possession.
The Green Machine hit the front with 14 minutes to go, Papalii had his fourth try of the season after Starling put the big forward through a gaping hole with no one in front of him.
Canberra almost extended their lead further after a sweeping play down the left edge, but Croker wasn’t able to gather the final pass in space.
The Roosters thought they had the potential match winning try with 10 minutes to go, but the final pass to Ikuvalu was ruled forward.
Wighton forced an error deep inside the Roosters half, with Joseph Manu spilling the ball to give the Raiders vital field territory with six minutes remaining.
The Roosters threw plenty at the green brick wall with a minute remaining, receiving a six to go call in the Raiders half but made an error on the fourth play.
A penalty for an offside call against the Roosters sealed the Raiders victory, as they hang on for courageous 24-20 victory.