The Canberra Raiders went down 22-20 to the Newcastle Knights in nail-biting a finish on Saturday at McDonald’s Park in Wagga Wagga.
The Canberra Raiders were the first to strike through winger Manase Kaho who caught a beautiful cut-out from playmaker Brad Schneider off an attacking scrum. The Raiders led 4-0 in the opening 10 minutes.
The match was momentarily delayed after Knights forward Pasami Saulo was treated for a devastating leg injury in the 18th minute.
The Knights continued to build pressure with repeat sets and finally got the breakthrough with lock-forward Mat Croker crashing over for a try. Zane Camroux converted to give the visitors a 6-4 lead.
The Knights scored again through hooker Luke Huth who caught the Raiders defence off-guard from dummy-half. Camroux converted to extend the Knights lead to 12-4 at halftime.
The Raiders hit straight back after halftime with front-rower Ryan James crashing over to score adjacent to the uprights. Schneider converted to edge closer, 12-10 Knights led.
Knights winger Chris Veaila finished a great team try in the corner to further extend the Knights lead to six. The Knights led 16-10 with a little over 20 minutes remaining.
The Raiders scored an amazing try to level the match. Dunamis Lui got a miraculous offload away to dummy-half Kai O’Donnell who linked up with his halfback Brad Schneider to beat the Knights defence for a four-pointer. Schneider converted his own try to level the scores 16-all with 12 minutes remaining.
Knights five-eighth Zane Camroux attempted a field goal to give the visitors a lead but it waved away to the left with some great defensive pressure from the Raiders.
The Raiders attacked the Knights goal-line but after a risky pass was intercepted by Jacob Kiraz, he was eventually dragged down 30 metres away from the try line. Matthew Soper-Lawler went to dummy-half and broke away to score under the posts to regain the lead for the Knights. Camroux converted to take a 22-16 lead with under 5 minutes of play remaining.
Raiders centre Toby Marks ran a great line to score untouched out-wide for the Raiders right on fulltime. The conversion was unsuccessful as the Knights hold on to win 22-20 over the Raiders and McDonald’s Park in Wagga Wagga.
Newcastle Knights 22 (Tries: Croker, Huth, Veaila, Soper-Lawler; Goals: Camroux 3) d Canberra Raiders 20 (Tries: Kaho, James, Schneider, Marks; Goals: Schneider 2)