The Canberra Raiders Harold Matthews Cup team have unfortunately been eliminated in the semi finals, going down in extra time 20-16 against the Western Suburbs Magpies on Saturday afternoon.
A late try to the Magpies was all that separated the two sides in a thrilling match which disappointedly ended the Raiders' hopes of a Grand Final appearance.
It didn’t take long for Western Suburbs to hit the scoreboard with halfback Luke Keppie crossing over in just the fourth minute for the game’s first try.
As the game seemed to steady up through the middle of the opening half, the Raiders were able to break through and level things up with a try of their own from edge back-rower Noah Martin.
Canberra extended their lead on the stroke of half-time off the back of a penalty, opting to take the two and enter the break up 8-6.
Harold Matthews Cup semi-finals highlights
Similarly to the first half, the Magpies took no time to hit the front with Lachlan Galvin scoring in the 34th minute to give them a slight lead.
But the Raiders answered right back with captain Owen Hromow crossing over only three minutes later. Following the conversion from Samuel Gash, Canberra had their largest lead of the game up 14-10 with a little over 10 minutes remaining.
Galvin was able to find the line once again in the 50th minute for the Magpies to register a double in his side's most important game of the season to date. The Magpies were unsuccessful with the conversion, keeping things all tied up at 14-all.
Neither side could break through in the final 10 minutes of regulation time which sent the semi final through to a nail-biting extra time finish.
Only two minutes into extra time, Western Suburbs took the lead with a crucial try through hooker Tallyn Da Silva. Tajh Colquhoun made no mistake with the conversion, bringing the Magpies out to a six-point lead.
That was enough to get them over a strong Raiders outfit and book a spot in next week’s Grand Final against the Sharks.
Although it was a disappointing result for the Raiders’ Harold Matthews Cup team, they can be extremely proud of the turnaround they made from finishing last on the ladder in 2021 to making a semi finals appearance this year.
Photo credit: Our Footy Team.