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A try to Isaac Luke and two Shaun Johnson field-goals in the last three minutes have seen the Warriors come from behind to crush Canberra 20-19 in front of frustrated Raiders fans at GIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Warriors immediately found themselves on the backfoot in the opening stages of Saturday afternoon's game after they conceded six penalties in the opening six minutes. A late shot by prop Adam Blair on Aidan Sezer exceeded the patience of the officials and saw the Warriors restricted to just twelve men in the seventh minute. The Raiders swiftly took advantage of the overlap when Siliva Havili took the line on and barged over just a minute later. Only three minutes past before the home side were in again - this time it was Iosia Soliola who burst through a hole and found a charging Elliot Whitehead in support to extend Canberra's lead to twelve. Ricky Stuart's team were in full control, however, a relieving penalty allowed the Warriors to march upfield. Despite still being without Blair, the New Zealand outfit were next to score when Peta Hiku sliced through lazy defence from Canberra's left edge. After a frantic start to the game, both sides settled down and failed to trouble the scoreboard, with the only change coming in the 39th minute courtesy of a late Sam Williams field goal.
The Raiders were the first to respond in the second half when Nick Cotric displayed immense strength to power through three Warriors defenders to plant the ball down out wide. Canberra had a commanding 19-6 lead yet their fanbase knew all to well that no lead was big enough for the home side given their previous two defeats to Newcastle and the Gold Coast. Hence, it was no surprise that the Warriors would soon narrow the gap after a quick ball from Shaun Johnson gave Tohu Harris the space to crash over in the 55th minute. Execution continued to let both sides down as the Raiders in particular struggled to land the killer blow. The Green Machine were later punished for this when a massive dummy by Isaac Luke fooled the Canberra defence and saw the Warriors come within one point of victory with three minutes remaining. In a stunning finish, the away side would march up field and Johnson would kick back-to-back field goals within regular time to boot his team to a 20-19 win in front of a devastated fanbase at GIO Stadium.
Next week the league's undisputed chokers are on the road against the Manly Sea Eagles on Saturday night while the Warriors look to maintain their unbeaten start to the season against the Roosters in the game prior at Allianz Stadium.
Canberra Raiders 19 - Warriors 20
Venue: GIO Stadium Canberra
Halftime Score: Canberra Raiders 13 Warriors 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Roger Tuivasa-sheck
2 points - Tohu Harris
1 points - Iosia Soliola
CANBERRA RAIDERS (19)
Tries: Siliva Havili, Elliot Whitehead, Nick Cotric
Field Goals: Sam Williams (1/1)
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Jarrod Croker (1/1)
Tries: Peta Hiku, Tohu Harris, Issac Luke
Field Goals: Shaun Johnson (2/2)
Conversions: Shaun Johnson (3/3)