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Canberra Raiders fullback Clinton Schifcofske has slotted two field goals in the final stages of their clash with the Warriors to see the Raiders escape with a thrilling 30-29 victory at Canberra Stadium.
A Stacey Jones try in the 62nd minute saw the Warriors holding a 10-point lead, but the Raiders fought back through late tries to Nathan Smith and Matt Gafa to level the scores at 28-all, before Jones edged his team ahead through a field goal with less than 2 minutes remaining.
It looked like the 2003 semi final all over again for the Raiders, who squandered numerous chances to score throughout the match. But after missing a field goal attempt from 40 metres out, Schifcofske calmly potted the equaliser with a minute remaining in regular time to see the Raiders contest their first ever golden point decider.
The Warriors received the kickoff in golden point time, but the Raiders defence held solid, before charging the ball downfield for Schifcofske to slot the wobbly match-winner.
Gafa had a match reminiscent of his efforts in the Raiders Premier League side last season, scoring a hat-trick of tries and kicking 4 goals for a personal haul of 20 points, while Nathan Smith re-affirmed his spot in the top grade after scoring another double.
Adam Mogg was outstanding for the Raiders, setting up two tries and defending stoutly out wide. Michael Weyman enjoyed a successful return to first grade in a barnstorming display which will no doubt see him remain in the frame for the rest of the season.
Club veterans Ruben Wiki, Simon Woolford and Jason Croker all played well, as did Ian Hindmarsh, whos workrate was again high.
"I wouldn't say it was a fantastic performance, but we got the result, " said Raiders coach Matthew Elliott after the match.
"Sometimes that's just as important as playing well."
Elliott admitted that thoughts of last year's semi-final heartbreak came back in the dying stages of today's clash.
"When Stacey (Jones) kicked that late field goal, you can't help but get hit by deja vu can you?"
"Our two sets leading up to our field goals were really good sets, and our set(up) on the field goal was really good as well becuase we had Mark McLinden to the right-hand side of the ruck and Choc (Schifcofske) on the left-hand side both times, and Simon (Woolford) got two really good clearances to them," he added.
The match also signalled the return to the top grade of Brad Drew and Tyran Smith, who was called up late to replace the injured Terry Martin.
The win sees the Raiders remain in seventh position on the NRL ladder on 22 points, one point above the North Queensland Cowboys, who today moved into 8th position with a golden point victory over Newcastle.
After going down in all three grades last weekend, the Raiders bounced back across the board today, with Dave Hamilton's Jersey Flegg side keeping their finals chances alive with a 36-12 victory over Balmain and Wayne Collins' Premier League team downing the Tigers 38-24.
Referee: Tim Mander | Crowd: 8,535 | Halftime Score: Warriors 16-12
Leagueunlimited Live Report:
Scorers: RAIDERS 30 Tries: Gafa 3, Smith 2 Goals: Gafa 4/5 Field Goals: Schifcofske 2 defeated WARRIORS 29 Tries: Webb, Meli, Ropati, Paleaaesina, Jones Goals: Jones 4/5 Field Goal: Jones
By the clock: A chilly Canberra greets the Warriors & Raiders onto the field for this Sunday arvo Round 20 match. Tyran Smith & Michael Weyman come onto the bench for the Raiders and Wairangi Koopu & Lance Hohaia will pair up in the centers with Thomas Leuluai & the previously un-capped Herewini Rangi coming onto the bench for the Warriors.
0 min: Kick-off
7 min: News - The Raiders are putting a mountain of pressure on the Warriors with two sets in a row in good territory with the ball in hand.
10 min: News - The Raiders have been guilty of making errors in a good scoing position letting the Warriors off the hook.
13 min: Try - Warriors. Iafeta Paleaaesina breaks the line and sets an unmarked Brent Webb for the try. Stacey Jones converts. 6-0 Warriors
15 min: News - The touch judge pulls up a forward pass by the Raiders which would of led up to a likely try.
22 min: News - Poor play by the Raiders kicking it over the dead ball line on their first play 10 metres out from the chalk.
24 min: Try - Raiders. Mark McLinden offloads in a tackle to give Matthew Gafa a gift four pointer. Gafa converts his own try. 6-6
27 min: News - The Warriors are penalised for obstruction after Henry Fa'afili scored in the corner.
28 min: Try - Raiders. The Raiders break a couple of weak tackle attempts before Jason Croker set Matthew Gafa up for his second try. Gafa converts it. 12-6 Raiders
35 min: Try - Warriors. After two dodgy calls going in favour to the Warriors, they pass it wide on the last tackle resulting in a Francis Meli try. Jones cant convert it. 12-10 Raiders
40 min: Try - Warriors. An excellent inside pass by Brent Webb sets up Jerome Ropati for a try right on the half-time buzzer. Jones converts it.
HALF TIME: A scrappy first half by the Raiders have left them embarrased at the half time break. Canberra have had a wealth of possesion and territory but have failed to convert at crucial times. The Warriors are starting to make plenty of metres around the ruck and have just started to find some sucsess in their long range kicking game. The Canberra have been nothing short of terrible and the Warriors have been mediocre on defence in patches but have done well considering they havent been on attack inside the Raiders 20 metres often. The Warriors lead at the break by 16 to 12.
HALF TIME STATS Penalties: Raiders 4 Warriors 1 Completions: Raiders 12/19 Warriors 12/15 Tackles: Raiders 113 Warriors 126 Hitups: Raiders 74 Warriors 69 Errors: Raiders 7 Warriors 6 MisTackles: Raiders 19 Warriors 11 Possesion: Raiders 52% Warriors 48%
40 min: Second half is under way
48 min: Try - Warriors. The Warriors put up a bomb in the middle of the field, Henry Fa'afili batters it back before the Warriors set up Iafeta Paleaaesina for a well deserved try. Jones converts. 22-12 Warriors
51 min: Try - Raiders. After the Warriors butcher a near try the Raiders hit back at the other end with Nathan Smith scoring on the flank. Gafa converts it. 22-18 Warriors
55 min: News - Matthew Gafa tackles Awen Guttenbeil over the sideline after a short line drop out almost resulted in a try.
58 min: News - Joel Monaghan nabs a Warriors bomb.
60 min: News - Mistakes is certainly putting a damper on the match with both teams giving away silly penalties. The Warriors have evened out the possesion and territory having had the majority of the ball in the second half.
63 min: Try - Warriors. The Warriors put up a bomb and regather it before passing it tp Stacey Jones who scores. Jones converts his own try. 28-18 Warriors
66 min: News - Brent Webb is put on report for a high tackle on Michael Weyman for a high tackle which should cop Webb a lengthy suspension.
69 min: Try - Raiders. Canberra pass it wide, they offload to an unmarked Nathan Smith who scores in the corner. Gafa's kick goes wide. 28-22 Warriors
71 min: Try - Raiders. Clinton Schifcofske puts in a grubber which sits up nicely for Matthew Gafa for a hatrick. Gafa converts to tie it up. 28-28
74 min: News - Brad Drew attempts to kick a field goal 40 metres out but it's well short.
76 min: News - Clinton Schifcofske's field goal attempt fells well shorts. The Warriors are given a penalty and the pressure is relieved some what.
78 min: Field goal - Under extra ordinary pressure Stacey Jones slots what could be a winning field goal. 29-28 Warriors
79 min: Field Goal - Clinton Schifcofske nails one right in front. 29-29
80 min: This games going to over time. The Raiders will kick off
82 min: Field Goal - 30 Metres Out Clinton Schifcofske kicks the winning field goal
FULL TIME: The Raiders come back from trailing by 10 points to win the match. The Warriors let this run away on them
FULL TIME STATS Penalties: Raiders 9 Warriors 4 Completions: Raiders 28/41 Warriors 26/33 Tackles: Raiders 202 Warriors 251 Hitups: Raiders 152 Warriors 133 Errors: Raiders 14 Warriors 10 MisTackles: Raiders 24 Warriors 17 Possesion: Raiders 54% Warriors 46% ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - I Paleaaesina (Warriors) 2 - M Weyman (Raiders) 1 - B Webb (Warriors) -----------------------------------------