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Raiders NSW Cup Defeated In Two-point Thriller Against Eels

The Canberra Raiders Knock On Effect NSW Cup team have fallen short in a heartbreaking 30-28 loss against the Parramatta Eels at GIO Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

A late penalty goal in the 76th minute from Jordan Rankin was all that could split the two sides in an entertaining curtain raiser to the NRL game.

In cold but perfect conditions at GIO Stadium, Parramatta controlled possession in the opening minutes with numerous repeat sets inside the Raiders half. Eventually they were able to break through Canberra’s defence with Jake Arthur putting a grab through for left centre Zac Cini to score.

Parramatta’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful, hitting the upright, keeping the score at 4-0 after eight minutes.

The Raiders responded with a strong patch defensively causing multiple errors from the Eels and dominating the field position. They were rewarded in the 20th minute with a try to Semi Valemei in the right hand corner off a beautiful lofted cut out ball from fullback Rayden Burns.

Sam Williams couldn’t convert the tough kick from the sideline, with the score remaining 4-all.

Following Valemei’s try, both sides were comfortable exchanging sets until Canberra capitalised off broken play with Burns once again being involved, putting a perfectly weighted kick through into the in-goal for winger Mitchell Spencer to dive on to take the Raiders ahead.

The conversion was from a much better angle this time for Williams with the halfback slotting it to give the home side a 10-4 lead with ten minutes to go until halftime.

But right on the break, a shift to the left hand side from Parramatta found Fijian winger Maika Sivo unmarked to stroll through for the Eels’ second try of the half. Jordan Rankin’s conversion from the sideline went right over the black dot to tie things up at 10-all at halftime.

Parramatta were the first to draw blood in the second half with Elie El-Zakhem's run on the previous play drawing in Raiders defenders and creating space to the left for forward Luke Bain to run over and score under the posts.

Rankin had no problem with the simple conversion, putting the Eels up six-points in the 48th minute.

But a knock on from Parramatta in the set following the restart provided the Raiders with a chance to level things up. Out of the scrum the Raiders went to the right and found Valemei who finished acrobatically in the corner to score his second try of the match.

Williams once again was left with a difficult conversion from the sideline but this time he had no problem, tying the game up at 16-all.

A strong run from Eels lock forward Ky Rodwell only six minutes later put the Eels in front again with Rodwell carrying four defenders over the line with him on his way to scoring. Rankin continued his strong kicking form, giving Parramatta a 22-16 lead in the 58th minute.

The Raiders were able to stop the exchanging of tries following Rodwell’s four pointers and score the first back to back tries of the half with Sam Williams scoring off an intercept and winger Utuloa Asomua busting through tackles to get to the line. Canberra were able to convert both and take a 28-22 lead with 13 minutes to go.

But in true fashion of this match up, Parramatta somehow were able to tie the game at 28-all after hooker Mitch Rein scored in the 70th minute. Rankin convert the try to set up a nail-biting final ten minutes of the match.

A costly penalty from Adrian Trevilyan for tackling the kicker in the air gave Parramatta a golden chance to hit the front with the visitors opting to take the penalty goal from 30 metres out. Rankin made no mistake giving the Eels a 30-28 lead with only four minutes remaining.

Canberra tried everything to find a way to gain back the lead going for the short kick off and a two point field goal attempt but were both unsuccessful with the Eels containing their two-point lead.

The Raiders will look to bounce back from this loss next Sunday when they face the current second placed Newtown Jets back at GIO Stadium and will be keen to get back in the winners column.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.