Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
The Canberra Raiders travelled to OKI Jubilee Stadium and came away with a hard fought 19-18 win over St George-Illawarra Dragons.
It was the Dragons who started off the stronger of the two sides. Through their start they were able to put on the first points with a very soft try from Wilshere.
The scores were leveled when the big Canberra front rower Ryan O'Hara scored his first try in first grade. For a few seconds O'Hara would've felt like a back as he ran through a gap and beat the fullback before getting the ball down.
Canberra followed up with another try before the Dragons hit back to cut the Raiders lead down to just 12-10 at the break.
The Raiders only points for the second half came in the opening minutes through a bit of Clinton Schifcofske brilliance. The Canberra fullback beat a Dragons fullback before pouring on the pace to run through a gap and score next to the posts.
The Dragons then picked up the pace. Simmonds scored and then Firman kicked a penalty goal to bring the scores to 18-all.
Just when the Raiders were in danger of losing control they managed to settle things down and work down field. Once in Dragons territory, Drew took his chance and kicked a field goal to put the Raiders in front with just 12 minutes on the clock.
Drew's field goal was enough to give the Raiders a win that ends a three game losing streak. The Dragons on the other hand have ended a three game winning streak and for another week will have to sit outside the top eight. They won't want to sit there too long as the origin period is nearly over and the race for the finals is about to begin.
Scorers: DRAGONS 18 Tries: Wilshere, Riddell, Simmonds Goals: Firman 1/1, Riddell 2/3 RAIDERS 19 Tries: O'Hara, Mogg, Schifcofske Goals: Schifcofske 3/3, F/G Drew
Sunday 13 July 2003 3:00 PM Kogarah Jubilee Oval Referee: Tim Mander
Leagueunlimited's Player of the Year: 3 - B Firman (Dragons) 2 - M McLinden (Raiders) 1 - M Riddell (Dragons)
By the clock: 0 min: Kickoff! Kogarah is sold out for this game with crowds lining up down Jubilee Avenue.
11th min: TRY - Dragons. John Wilshere got the ball out wide, bumped off Ruben Wiki and scored a very soft try. Brett Firman converts from the sideline - Dragons 6-0.
16th min: NEWS - Michael Monaghan is on the field for the Raiders who look a little sloppy early on. The Dragons plan of attack seems to be down the left hand side where they obviously feel the Raiders are weak.
18th min: TRY - Raiders. Ryan O'Hara found himself in a front rower's dream, being through a big hole and in the clear. He then managed to beat the fullback and score. Schifcofske converts - 6 all.
26th min: NEWS - The Dragons halfback Brett Firman looks to be full of confidence after his recent form while his opposite Mark McLinden hasn't particularly impressed.
33rd min: TRY - Raiders. Canberra found an overlap and Monaghan put the tryscore Adam Mogg through a big gap. Schifcofske converts from the sideline - Canberra 12-6.
35th min: NEWS - The penalty count is at 2 all. Mark Riddell has had great impact since coming on for the Dragons making a couple of big runs.
38th min: TRY - Dragons. Firman made a majestic run only to be taken down by Schifcofske at the last second. It wasn't the perfect tackle though as he gave away a penalty that should've seen him in the bin. Riddell stepped up and took the tap rather wearily before charging full steam ahead and scoring. Riddell fails to convert - Raiders 12-10.
Halftime: Canberra sneak away with the lead at the break but the Dragons have looked the better of the two sides. Halftime score - Raiders 12-10.
41st min: The second half is under way!
44th min: TRY - Raiders. Clinton Schifcofske produced an amazing solo try out of nothing. He beat one player and then found a gap opening up which was enough for him to get into open space and score close to the posts. Schifcofske converts his own try - Raiders 18-10.
48th min: NO TRY - Nathan Blacklock sniffed a chance but pushed his luck reaching out once his momentum had stopped to score. The video referee didn't take much time in ruling a double movement and a penalty to the Raiders.
53rd min: TRY - Dragons. The Dragons had a huge overlap but it took some good work from Perenara to put Simmonds into space and over for a try. Riddell converts - Raiders 18-16.
55th min: NEWS - Riddell took on Ben Cross of Canberra and has came off second best. Hes been taken from the field holding the jaw while Ben Cross has been put on report giving a penalty to the Dragons right out in front.
56th min: PENALTY GOAL - Dragons. Brett Firman slots the two points to tie things up - 18 all.
59th min: NEWS - The penalty count is now 7-4 in the Dragons favour and the Raiders are starting to feel the pressure.
65th min: NEWS - The Dragons have just lost a bit of the momentum they had built up. It gives the Raiders a chance turn things around.
68th min: FIELD GOAL - Brad Drew has kicked a field goal that puts the Raiders back in from with just 12 minutes left on the clock - Raiders 19-18.
72nd min: NEWS - An amazing set of events for the Dragons. Wilshere made a great break down the sideline. He came slightly in-field with Blacklock on his inside but didn't use him and got tackled by Schifcofske. Blacklock then took the ball from dummy half and stood still and had the ball stripped in the tackle. The Dragons almost certainly blew their chance at wrapping up the game.
75th min: NEWS - The crowd are really starting to get into this one as the Dragons start to explore all avenues in order to win this match.
78th min: NEWS - The Dragons aren't going to die wondering in these final minutes. The current situation is a test on the effect the golden point has on teams thinking. Will the Dragons kick a field goal to tie the match or will they push for the try?
Fulltime: The Raiders have fought off a very strong run home from the Dragons to upset the Dragons faithful who made their way out to Kogarah this afternoon. Final score - Raiders 19-18.