The Canberra Raiders have destroyed the hopes and dreams of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks as the green machine ran out victorious in front of a sell out Canberra Stadium today.
The Sharks were the first to score after just four minutes with Anthony Tupou giving rookie Ricky Leutele a great ball. Todd Carney passed to Tupou who ran a great line on his inside, with the big forward catching and passing almost instantly to send Leutele crashing over to score the first points. Todd Carney converted and the home side were behind by 6.
The Raiders were desperate to get back into the match and light up their bumper home crowd. That moment came in the 16th minute as Canberra five eighth Josh McCrone drew in the Sharks defensive line, drawing the outside winger to commit to a tackle, with the pivot cutting the ball out to Sandor Earl who crossed over in the corner. The Raiders were right back in it but Jarod Croker could not convert the try.
Just moments later, Sam Williams threw a big dummy pass to scream through a yawning gap, passing to Jarrod Croker who ran the ball across field, drawing the outside defensive line in, putting a brilliant kick across field for Earl to score his second. This time he converted with the home side up 10-6 after 22 minutes.
Sam Williams then applied the pressure to the Sharks back three, attempting a great 40/20 shot on the third tackle after a try, but Gordon picks the ball up and tries to get out of his in goal. He runs to the five metre line before the tough defence of the Raiders drag the fullback into touch. It wasn't to be but a mountain of possession had the Raiders in good stead.
In the 35th minute, the Raiders finally crossed the line again, with Shaun Berrgian trying to burrow his over the line. He was unable to put the ball down but got a brilliant offload to McCrone who passed the ball to a charging Josh Papalii, scoring the next Raiders try. Croker converted and the Raiders went up 16-6.
Josh Papalii and Paul Gallen entered into a little battle after the Raiders forward almost knocked Gallen out, with commentators mentioning that Gallen reportedly telling the referee:
"He has got me twice, I am going to get him back."
The game headed into half time with both teams flaring up.
The second half was tense and the Sharks got themselves back into the game in the 50th minute with two great bullet passes, with the ball ending up in Paul Gallen's hands as he tore through a sleeping defensive line, offloading to Wade Graham who scored the try. Jarrod Croker scored a penalty goal in the 56th minute as the game was in the balance, 18-12.
Cronulla scored in the corner through a shift out wide with Stapleton crossing under a forward pass cloud. The officials said no and all of a sudden the Sharks were behind by just two points in the 61st minute.
Sam Williams put a smart kick over the defensive line with Blake Ferguson jumping up and scoring the vital try for the Raiders against his old club.
The flood gates opened with Glenn Buttriss, Blake Ferguson and Sam Williams all scoring in a flurry of points that saw the Canberra Raiders run out winners, 34-16.
The Canberra side will now face the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium next week and the Sharks will now have a holiday.
Canberra Raiders 34 defeated Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 16
National Rugby League - Finals Week 1 - Sunday September 9, 2012 4:00pm
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Referee: Tony Archer and Chris James
Video Referee: Sean Hampstead and Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Adam Reid
Halftime: Canberra Raiders 16 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Sam Williams (1 Try)
2 Points - Bryce Gibbs
1 Point - Blake Ferguson (2 Tries)
CANBERRA RAIDERS (34)
Tries: Glen Buttriss, Blake Ferguson (2), Sandor Earl (2), Sam Williams, Josh Papalii
Conversions: Josh Dugan (0/3), Jarrod Croker (2/3), Blake Ferguson (0/1)
Penalty Goals: Jarrod Croker (1/1)
CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (16)
Tries: Wade Graham, Nathan Stapleton, Ricky Leutele
Conversions: Todd Carney (1/1), Nathan Stapleton (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary We are just minutes from kick off in this elimination final from the nations capital! CHANGES: Raiders no changes, 1-17 :: Sharks - John Williams, Ben Pomeroy OUT; Issac Gordon, Ricky Leutele, Wade Graham IN
Both teams are on the field!
1 min: The Sharks kick down to the Raiders and our second elimination final is under way!
1 min: McCrone puts the ball deep into the Sharks half but Gordon comes out of his in goal to be stopped by Canberra defence. Loud crowd.
1 min: Carney rolls the ball into touch. Scrum Canberra 20 metres out from their line.
2 min: Ferguson puts the ball down. Scrum Sharks 30 from the Canberra line.
4 min: The ball is spilled out and the Raiders go on the attack but the referee call it back for a Canberra knock on. Scrum 10 metres out for the Sharks.
6 min: TRY
The Sharks are over for first points after four minutes. Carney goes short to Tupou who catches and passes to Leutele who scores in his tenth game.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6-0
7 min: Sharks working it out of their half now
8 min: Earl collects the kick from the Sharks and takes it back to the line.
8 min: Raiders are up to halfway
9 min: Gordon has the ball 20 metres from his line. Both teams fighting hard for their seasons.
9 min: Time off and Paul Gallen has not moved.
9 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Sharks. High tackle. CAN 0-1 CRO.
9 min: Carney kicks deep into the Raiders half. Sharks are on the attack
10 min: Gordon drops a simple ball after some razzle dazzle passing. Scrum Raiders 10 from their line.
11 min: Another knock on, Buttriss simply puts the ball down, 40 from their line.
12 min: Sharks very close. 10 metres from the try line.
12 min: Dugan just gets out of the in goal. Raiders working it off their line.
13 min: Josh Dugan goes for a 40/20 but Issac Gordon touches it and it goes into touch. Raiders scrum 10 out.
15 min: Matthew Wright defuses some Canberra attack and the Sharks will kick a drop out.
16 min: Canberra lose the ball through Thompson and the Sharks are working from their half
17 min: Another dropped ball and the Raiders have a scrum on halfway
19 min: TRY
Josh McCrone draws in the Sharks defenders, bringing in the winger, cutting the ball out wide to Sandor Earl who runs 10 metres and score in the corner. Croker misses the conversion.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 6-4
20 min: Raiders are working it out after points now. Sharks trying to force a mistake
20 min: Dugan triees to cut them to pieces but is stopped by scramble defence.
20 min: VIDEO REF: Earl in the corner again, after a great kick from Croker. Checking foul play from Sharks.
23 min: TRY
After a line break from the Raiders, Croker backs up in attack to get the ball, running 10 metres across field before placing a perfect kick across to Earl who strolls over for his second in as many minutes. Croker adds the extras.
Canberra Raiders 10-6
23 min: The Raiders will have a scrum 10 minutes from the Sharks line. After a third tackle kick, attempting a 40/20, Gordon tries to get out of his in goal and head back in field but the Raiders defence drag him out.
24 min: The ball hits the ground and the Sharks have the ball
24 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Sharks. Inside the 10. CAN 0-2 CRO
25 min: Sharks put a kick through in goal but it goes dead; Earl rushes it back to the 20 and is taken on the 30.
26 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Raiders. Offside. CAN 1-2 CRO
27 min: Williams puts a kick across field and Stapleton takes it, and runs quickly to the 20. Quick tap and the Raiders stop him 30 out
28 min: Forward pass. Raiders get the scrum on the halfway line.
29 min: Knock on from Croker; handover. Sharks play the ball 10 out from their line.
30 min: Carney rolls the ball into touch. Scrum for the Raiders 10 out from their line.
31 min: A smart kick from the Raiders ends with Wright being tackled on the 10
33 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Raiders. Tackled in the air. CAN 2-2 CRO
34 min: Some confusion but the Sharks have the ball back. Big defence from the Raiders.
35 min: Raiders force the mistake and are on the attack
38 min: TRY
Shaun Berrigan tries to burrow over but is forced back by the Sharks, but somehow gets the ball offloaded, McCrone scoops it up and gives it to a charging Josh Papalii who scores the try. Croker converts.
Canberra Raiders 16-6
38 min: Raiders working it up field now
39 min: Sharks have the ball back now, looking desperate
39 min: Papalii and Gallen collide, leaving the Sharks captain motionless
39 min: Gallen is up. Sharks kick the ball on the last and the Raiders have the ball back.
40 min: A fiery end to the first half. Sharks down by 16-6 as the Raiders are looking to continue their great work to knock out the Sharks.
40 min: Both teams are entering back onto the field.
40 min: The Raiders kick down to the Sharks; 40 minutes away from finding out our next eliminated team!
40 min: Sharks clear it and Earl brings it back to his 30
41 min: Canberra earn six more but drop it immediately losing the ball after the Sharks had knocked it backwards.
42 min: Sharks are over halfway
43 min: Some frantic Sharks attack has the ball ending up in Croker's arm for the Raiders
43 min: The Raiders run it on the last and the Sharks will have the ball back on the 40 metre line.
44 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Sharks. Not clearing the ruck. CAN 2-3 CRO
44 min: Sharks lose control and the Raiders have the scrum 10 from the line.
45 min: Another forward pass from the Raiders and the Sharks will have the scrum.
46 min: Sharks inside the Raiders 30
50 min: TRY
The Sharks go wide through two quick bullet passes, before Gallen hits a great gap to go just 5 metres from the line before offloading to Graham who scores the try. Nathan Stapleton converts the try.
Canberra Raiders 16-12
50 min: Todd Carney has come from the field unable to walk.
50 min: Caberra have a chance to hit back as Gallen loses the ball.
51 min: Colin Best grabs the ball from the Raiders on the last and runs 40 metres up field
52 min: The Sharks have a scrum 10 metres from the Raiders line after Josh Dugan messes up a bomb, putting it into touch.
52 min: VIDEO REF: Obstruction.
52 min: Jeff Robson is denied a try after an obstruction.
52 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Canberra. Obstruction. CAN 3-3 CRO
54 min: Croker is a bit sick going down after a tackle.
54 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Canberra. High tackle - Jeremy Smith on report. CAN 4-3 CRO
56 min: PENALTY GOAL
Croker converts and the Raiders extend their lead to 6.
Canberra Raiders 18-12
56 min: Raiders working hard to get up field.
57 min: Williams puts the ball into touch. Scrum Sharks 20 from their line.
57 min: "It felt like someone shot me in the ankle" - Todd Carney, confirms Achilles injury
58 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Sharks. Late hit on kicker. CAN 4-4 CRO
61 min: TRY
Simple play as the Sharks spread the ball wide to the Best, who passes to Stapleton to get the Sharks right back into the game. Stapleton misses.
Canberra Raiders 18-16
61 min: Raiders get down and belt the Sharks in defence.
62 min: Stapleton stops the Earl and forces him backward. Sharks muscling up
63 min: Dugan kicks the ball down but Stapleton runs into the Raiders half easily.
63 min: Gallen shoots himself in the foot. Scrum Raiders 30 out from their own line.
64 min: Raiders rush up into the Sharks half
64 min: Raiders force a goal line drop out.
65 min: Raiders well on the attack in the 20 of the Sharks
66 min: Croker down in pain once again.
69 min: TRY
Sam Williams puts a last tackle kick up and Blake Ferguson comes from no where to score a crucial try for the Raiders. Dugan misses and Croker has left the field.
Canberra Raiders 22-16
69 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Canberra. Out on the full off kick off. CAN 5-4 CRO
69 min: Raiders attacking inside the 30
72 min: TRY
Glenn Buttriss goes from dummy half, dummies the defence and sprints his way to the try line. Dugan misses. Is the Sharks season over?
Canberra Raiders 26-16
72 min: Short kick off ends up in the hands of the Raiders.
72 min: McCrone drubs it dead. 20 metre restart for the Sharks.
73 min: The Sharks almost go through the Raiders defence but Dugan comes back on the attack and gets into the Sharks half
77 min: TRY
The Raiders go wide, a Sharks defender tries to intercept the ball but Ferguson picks the ball up off his shoe lace and ends the Sharks' season. Dugan misses.
Canberra Raiders 30-16
77 min: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Raiders. Out on the full. CAN 6-4 CRO
80 min: TRY
Williams throws a big dummy and runs through scoring the try. Ferguson misses.
Canberra Raiders 34-16
80 min: The Raiders win and will go on to face the Rabbitohs, while the season is over for the Sharks.