The Canberra Raiders have defeated the Newcastle Knights in nail biting fashion with a late try giving them a 20-18 victory at GIO Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Another try at the death from Hudson Young has handed the Raiders a close two-point win after leading by eight-points at halftime.
The conditions were perfect at GIO Stadium with a dry track allowing for both sides to throw the footy around and test one another. After ten minutes of end to end rugby league, the Raiders were able to captialise on a repeat set inside Newcastle’s half with winger Nick Cotric spinning around the tackle of Dominic Young to get across the line.
Jamal Fogarty was unsuccessful with the conversion from the left hand sideline, keeping the score at 4-0.
After multiple close scoring opportunities, Canberra finally went over again with Matt Timoko finding a gap in the Knights defensive line to score in the 16th minute. Fogarty was unsuccessful from an easier spot with the Raiders still holding an eight point lead.
Only minutes later the Raiders went agonisingly close to scoring with Fogarty’s grubber being missed by Xaveir Savage and then knocked on by Timoko in the in-goal.
But Savage wouldn’t disappoint in the 23rd minute when the fullback flew high to catch a bomb and reach out to plant it over the try line. Following the successful conversion from Fogarty Canberra held an impressive 14-0 lead.
The next ten minutes proceeding Savage’s try saw both sides struggle to gain momentum with errors affecting their ability to be great scoring positions. But a six again on the stroke of halftime provided Newcastle with their first try off a crafty short ball from Kayln Ponga put Kurt Mann through a hole.
Ponga was successful with the conversion, taking the score to 14-6 going into the break.
Both sides came out of halftime seeming to have the intent of focusing on their defence as there were five forced errors in the first ten minutes.
But in the 54th minute Raiders captain Elliott Whitehead was sin-binned for a controversial late hit on Ponga which left Canberra to have to defend with 12 players.
Immediately after referee Ashley Klein’s decision the Knights capitalised with the first points of the half through bench forward Mat Croker. Ponga’s successful conversion attempt minimised the Raiders lead to just two-points.
However, for a majority of the time Whitehead was off the field the Raiders controlled the game and played deep inside Newcastle’s half of the ground.
But as soon as Canberra were back to full strength, Knights halfback Adam Clune made a break down the left side of the field and was just able to get a pass away to Edrick Lee who scored in the corner in the 65th minute.
Following Ponga’s second conversion of the afternoon, the Knights were out to a four-point lead with just under 15 minutes to go.
The life got completely taken out of GIO Stadium after Savage saved a 40/20 attempt that went into the hands of the Knights who went over to score. But the Bunker overturned the decision of try after footage showed the Knights had also knocked the ball on after Savage.
But in the 78th minute workhorse forward Hudson Young came up with a piece of individual brilliance, grubbering through the Knights defensive line, regathering and putting the ball down to tie the game up with a kick to come.
Fogarty held up his end of the bargain, slotting the conversion from slightly to the left of the uprights to give Canberra a 20-18 lead with 30 seconds to go.
Newcastle went short off the kickoff but the Raiders regained possession to secure the victory.
The Raiders will look to break their way into the top eight when they take on the St George Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium on Sunday 3rd July.