The Canberra Raiders have kept their finals hopes alive, coming from behind to defeat the Newcastle Knights 28-22 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
After a disappointing first half, the Green Machine would fight back into the match off the back of a scintillating opening 10 minutes of the second period, with a Jack Wighton try sealing the result.
Sebastian Kris and Hudson Young were both stand outs in attack, with the victory firmly keeping the Raiders in the hunt for finals football.
It was the Knights who would get off to the perfect start, with Edrick Lee crossing over in the sixth minute after finding some space on the left edge. Anthony Milford would miss the conversion from the sideline, giving the home side an early 4-0 lead.
The Raiders would not take long to hit back, courtesy of Sebastian Kris. The Green Machine’s top try-scorer this season would show his strength and footwork, breezing past Dane Gagai to score in the 13th minute. Jamal Fogarty would push his conversion to the right of the uprights, leaving the score at 4-all.
The Knights would regain their lead soon after, finding numbers on the right edge. Some silky passing would see the ball end up in the hands of Dominic Young, who would beat Hudson Young to the line in the 18th minute.
Milford would again miss the conversion, with the Knights securing an 8-4 lead.
Dominic Young would be quick to get his second just moments later, after some sloppy Raiders play in the middle of the field. The try would come off the back of a Gagai line break, with the experienced centre finding the young winger in the 25th minute.
Milford would not be able to add the extra two points, the Knights leading 12-4.
After almost crossing over in the previous set, the Raiders would get their second of the afternoon after some silky passing down the right-hand edge.
Timoko would find Jordan Rapana on the outside of the Knights defensive line, with the veteran winger scoring the corner in the 32nd minute.
Fogarty would miss the conversion, the Knights still leading 12-8.
Newcastle would hit back to extend their lead, with Milford picking out Lee with a pinpoint kick to the corner. The commanding winger would collect the ball, diving to plant it down in the 36th minute.
Milford would miss his fourth consecutive conversion attempt of the afternoon, with the Knights leading 16-8.
Newcastle would continue their momentum right until the break, with Jayden Brailey finding some space through the middle of the field. The hooker would break multiple tackles, crossing over next to the upright for his sides fifth of the afternoon.
Milford would convert his first, the Raiders heading into the sheds down 22-8 and in need of a comeback.
Canberra would show their intent to get back into the match early, with Kris scoring only minutes into the second half. The centre would steam through to collect a Fogarty bomb in the 42nd minute, crossing directly next to the posts.
Fogarty would convert the try, bringing the score back to 22-14 in favour of Newcastle.
Some miraculous play from Hudson Young would continue the Raiders brilliant start to the second half, with the second rower bringing his kicking boots back from the last time the two sides played.
He would kick out of dummy half, finding his way past the Knights defence to plant the ball down just inside the dead ball line in the 48th minute. Fogarty would convert, pulling the Knights lead back to 22-20.
After a dangerous tackle from Gagai, the Raiders would opt to have an attempt at a penalty goal. Fogarty would be successful in the 53rd minute, drawing the scores level at 22-all.
The next twenty minutes would see the Raiders continue to threaten the Knights line, with only valiant defence keeping the home side in the match.
Josh Papalii would be the man to break the game open, the prop linking up with his forward partner Joe Tapine to burst down the field. The New Zealand international would find Jack Wighton with a pass to the left, the five-eighth scoring in the 71st minute.
Fogarty would successfully convert from the sideline, giving the Raiders their first lead of the match, 28-22.
Despite the Knights pushing until the end, they would not be able to break the Raiders defensive line, Rapana coming up with a crucial last play to secure the Raiders a 28-22 victory.
Canberra now turns their eyes to next weekend, with the Green Machine scheduled to host the Manly Sea Eagles at GIO Canberra Stadium next Saturday at 3pm.