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In a top of the table clash, the Brisbane Broncos have overcome a committed Canberra Raiders outfit to win 24-20 at Canberra Stadium this afternoon.
With the breeze at their backs, the Broncos ran out to a 12-nil lead after 25 minutes. But the Raiders hit back with two tries to Joel Monaghan and at half time the vistor's lead was trimmed to 12-10.
Monaghan got his hat trick in the 53rd minute and the Raiders were looking good at 14-12.
The lead changed soon after following a Darren Lockyer inspired try to Michael De Vere and with 20 minutes to go, the Broncos were in front 18-14.
But the Raiders struck back yet again with a try to Ruben Wiki and with 12 minutes remaining, Canberra were hanging onto a two point lead.
In the 73rd minute, a Brad Drew kick went wrong to see Broncos' winger Scott Minto race 90 metres to score what turned out to be the winning try. It was good comeback from Minto who had been targeted for most of the afternoon and found himself often out-gunned by the Raiders' game plan.
The home side had their chances late in the match but the Broncos held to win and claim the top spot on the NRL table. Both sides scoring four tries each with the goal kicking ultimately being the difference.
Sunday 15 June 2003 Canberra Stadium Referee: Bill Harrigan
RAIDERS 20 Tries: Monaghan 3, Wiki Goals: Schifcofske 2/5 BRONCOS 24 Tries: Civoniceva, Lockyer, De Vere, Minto Goals: De Vere 4/4
Leagueunlimited Player of the year points: 3 - J Monaghan (Raiders) 2 - D Lockyer (Broncos) 1 - M De Vere (Broncos)
By the clock: Special pre-match celebration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who have contributed to Rugby League. Kickoff!
5 min: A few anxious moments for the Raiders but no score as yet.
10 min: Raiders survive another Broncos raid but nothing in it as both sides defend well.
12 min: NEWS - Penalty goal attempt from Clinton Schifcofske from 29m out hits uprights and back into field of play. Anxious moment for the Broncos but they get possession. Still nil-all.
17 min: TRY - Broncos. Petero Civoniceva scores following some brilliant lead up work from Darren Lockyer who drew the defence in. Conversion Michael De Vere. Broncos 6-0
25 min: TRY - Broncos. Darren Lockyer scores after backing up Ben Ikin on a left side raid. Follows some superb interchange passing between Lockyer and Berrigan. The Canberra crowd has gone dead quiet. De Vere Conversion successful. Broncos 12-0
28 min: TRY - Raiders. The home side strikes back following a short kick off. Joel Monaghan scoring. Schifcofske's conversion from the touch line and into the breeze is an absolute ripper. Broncos 12-6
39 min: TRY - Raiders. Monaghan scores his second try unmarked after Brad Drew sets up the attack on the right side flank. Schifcofske's conversion attempt grazes the outside of the uprights. Broncos 12-10
HALF TIME: Entertaining match so far with the Raiders coming back following early Broncos dominance. The Raiders will have have the breeze in the second half. Broncos 12-10
42 min: Raiders look certain to score after Luke Davico cuts them up the middle of the ruck and Jamaal Lolesi gets into space... but Lockyer intercepts to give the Broncos a huge let off. Broncos 12-10
50 min: Still no change to score. End-to-end stuff. Broncos 12-10
53 min: TRY - Raiders. Monaghan gets a hat trick following a cross-field kick from Brad Drew. Monaghan diving over the top of Broncos' winger Scott Minto. Conversion from Schifcofske is unsuccessful. Raiders hit the front 14-12.
57 min: TRY - Broncos. De Vere scores after break from Lockyer receiving a Shaun Berrigan pass. Follows an earlier break from Berrigan. Conversion in front De Vere. Broncos back in the lead, 18-14.
67 min: TRY - Ruben Wiki scores next to the sticks after video ref scutinises obstruction appeal. Conversion Schifcofske is successful and the lead changes again. Raiders 20-18
73 min: TRY - Broncos. Minto grabs a kick from Brad Drew and makes a 90m dash to score. Conversion De Vere is a beaut. Broncos 24-20
77 min: NEWS - Broncos error and Raiders 19m out.
79 min: Raiders scrum feed 10m out.
80 min: Penalty to the Raiders right on full time and Monaghan follows a kick through, coming within a whisker of scoring. Its full time and the Broncos have won 24-20