The Raiders have achieved a hard fought 20-14 win over the Cronulla Sharks at Toyota Park.
The match got off to a fiery start with the two sets of props bashing each other senseless. Luke Davico put in some big hits early on and Jason Stevens responded with a bone crunching first 20 minutes.
Schifcofske put first points on the board through a penalty goal just minutes into the match. Soon after the Sharks hit back through a solo effort from young Greg Bird.
Schifcofske slotted his second penalty goal close to halftime to lock up the scores going into the break.
At halftime both teams would've been far from satisfied. The Sharks had the better of the early proceedings but couldn't build on their lead. The Raiders on the other hand were their own worst enemy with poor handling but would be happy to have gained some ascendancy close to the break.
The Sharks started the second half like a house on fire. Their hunger was evident and the Raiders gave them a helping hand with mistakes in their own half. The Sharks took full advantage scoring two quick tries through Sullivan and Hilder.
The Raiders patience and composure has been one of their greatest qualities this year and when they looked like losing control of the game it kicked in again. They managed to stem the flow of points from the Sharks and score through Martin to get back within two points.
The two teams proceeded to trade penalty goals to tie the game up at 14 all with five minutes left on the clock. With seconds left on the clock it was the Raiders turn to capitalise on the opposition's mistake.
Matthew Riek failed to clean up a ball in the in goal and the charging Robertson made him pay for his mistake by grounding the ball and winning the game for the Raiders.
In the end Raiders managed to keep themselves in the game despite not scoring their first try until the hour mark. Their patience and second half performances this season are a warning to the rest of the competition that the Raiders are contenders.
Friday 30 May 2003 Toyota Park Referee: Bill Harrigan
Leagueunlimited's Player of the Year Points: 3 - R Wiki (Raiders) 2 - B Kimmorley (Sharks) 1 - C Beattie (Sharks)
Scorers: SHARKS 14 Tries: Bird, Sullivan, Hilder Goals: Kimmorley 1/4 RAIDERS 20 Tries: Martin, Robertson Goals: Schifcofske 6/6
By the clock:
0 min: Kickoff after a minutes silence for the late Alan McMahon. Beattie will start for the Sharks with Nutley going to the bench. For the Raiders Croker will play at Five Eighth, McLinden goes to the bench and Weyman comes into the side.
2nd min: NEWS - The Raiders have got off to a great start with Davico putting in some bone crunching hits.
4th min: PENALTY GOAL - Raiders. The Sharks are penalised in possession for failing to play the ball properly. Schifcofske slots the first points of the night - Raiders 2-0.
6th min: NEWS - Both packs are getting stuck into each other early on with Davico and Stevens already having their own personal battle.
8th min: TRY - Sharks. Greg Bird has scored a very good individual try. He spotted some space and bet four Raiders defenders to get across the line. Kimmorley misses an easy one close to the uprights - Sharks 4-2.
14th min: NEWS - The forwards battle tonight is intense with poth packs ripping into each other. Also a few mistakes creeping in for both sides but their hurting the Raiders in particular.
22nd min: NEWS - Canberra are yet to get in the Sharks 20m zone and have only completed 50% of their sets. The Sharks have made 1 interchange compared to the Raiders who have made 4 interchanges.
24th min: NEWS - Jason Stevens has left the field after having knee problems and limping in backplay with the trainer. Its a shame because hes been the best player on the park so far.
31st min: PENALTY GOAL - Raiders. Sullivan is penalised for holding onto the boot of Woolford as he tried to play the ball. Schifcofske slots his second of the night - 4 all.
33rd min: NEWS - The Raiders are working their way into this match with some possession in the Sharks territory.
Halftime: Its been a close half with both forward packs pounding each other. The Raiders looked good going into halftime with the Sharks tiring - 4 all.
Halftime Statistics: Cronulla have completed 17 of 26 sets while Canberra have completed 13 of 22. Cronulla have made 173 tackles, 13 missed tackles and 90 hitups. Canberra have made 165 tackles, 8 missed tackles and 87 hitups. Both sides have made 9 handling errors each. Isemonger is the top tackler for Cronulla with 17 while Croker is the top tackler for Canberra wtih 20. Beattie has made the most hitups for Cronulla with 12 and Schifcofske has made the most hitups for Canberra with 14.
41st min: The second half is underway!
43rd min: TRY - Sharks. Monaghan made a mistake in the Raiders first set to give the Sharks some good field possession. Sullivan went from dummy half and reached out to score. Kimmorley fails to convert - Sharks 8-4.
47th min: TRY - Sharks. The Raiders made another error in their half. Eventually Hilder took on several Raiders defenders and managed to get the ball down. Kimmorley misses another conversion - Sharks 12-4.
49th min: NEWS - Jason Stevens is looking very unlikely to return in the second half. Canberra have just made their 3 mistake in their own half and its killing them.
56th min: NEWS - The Raiders starting to threaten the Sharks line. Credit has to go to the Sharks defence though which continues to deny the green machine.
62nd min: TRY - Raiders. Canberra have finally found the try line. Tyran Smith picked out Terry Martin running full steam into a gap who went straight through to score. Schifcofske converts - Sharks 12-10.
67th min: PENALTY GOAL - Raiders. Cronulla were penalised for raking the ball in the tackle. Schifcofske slots his third penalty goal for the night - 12 all.
70th min: PENALTY GOAL - Sharks. The Raiders were penalised for being offside. Kimmorley kicks his first goal of the night just when it matters - Sharks 14-12.
75th min: PENALTY GOAL - Raiders. The Sharks now are penalised right out in front for stripping the ball in the tackle. Schifcofske levels the score again - 14 all.
79th min: TRY - Raiders. Matthew Riek failed to clean up a ball going into the in goal and Robertson of Canberra came through to score the try. After some tense moments the video referee awarded the try. Schifcofske converts the try and that should be the ball game - Canberra 20-14.
Fulltime: The Raiders have hung in after some tense moments in the second half to steal victory on fulltime. Great match and Canberra show again how to win football matches through patience and composure. Fulltime score - Raiders 20-14.
Fulltime Statistics: Cronulla completed 26 of 43 sets while Canberra completed 28 of 43. Cronulla made 314 tackles, 31 missed tackles and 152 hitups. Canberra made 275 tackles, 19 missed tackles and 166 hitups. Cronulla made 17 handling errors and the Raiders made 16. Isemonger was the top tackler for Cronulla with 37 while Croker was the top tackler for Canberra wtih 32. Beattie made the most hitups for Cronulla with 19 and Schifcofske made the most hitups for Canberra with 27.Like