It was a Happy Easter for all the Canberra fans at GIO Stadium today, who witnessed one of the games of the season. The Raiders trailed the Storm for 78 minutes but it was unlikely hero Paul Vaughan who sealed the win with a superb charge through the heart of the Storm defence to score under the posts and make the winning conversion a mere formality for Man of the Match Jarrod Croker.
The Storm started the brighter and it was Ryan Hinchcliffe who opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a try under the posts that came from a rebounded Cameron Smith grubber. Matthew Allwood then evened things up in the 17th minute, with a strong run to the lione after a series of short passes bewitched the Storm defence. The obligatory Sisa Waqa try from a Cooper Cronk kick then gave Storm the lead again then late replacement Mahe Fonua crashed over to give the Storm a handy lead just before the break. The Raiders decided to chance their arm and run it on the last in the last play of the first half and it proved a masterstroke as the ball went through ten sets of hands before finding Reece Robinson in the right corner. The half time score of 16-12 to the Storm was a fair reflection of the half.
The Storm started the second half as they did the first and it was Cronk with the try assist putting Fonua over for his second in the 45th minute. The Storm were without Ben Roberts for the whole second half after he limped off with a medial ligament tear. Broncos-bound Anthony Milford then forced himself into the game with a scything run which ended in a try to Robinson, his second. The Storm then looked to have skipped away a couple of times with tries toi Waqa but both were denied by sensational defence by Croker and Josh Papalii respectively. Waqa's second attempted try looked to be really close and the Storm weren't happy at all with the no try decision.
So it came down to a frantic last ten minutes, with the Storm leading by 4 and vocal Raiders crowd trying to spur their team on. The Raiders did lift, especially in defence and it was the claustrophobic defence which caused the Storm to come up with the errors that opened the door for the Vaughan try. The Storm had one last shot at a miracle but Captain Smith's attempted short kick-off went out on the full and that was all she wrote.
The Raiders will go into next week's clash with Manly with renewed confidence while the Storm head back home to lick their wounds and prepare for an ANZAC Day clash with the erratic Warriors.