Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
43 hours ago
Canberra have fought back from a 16 point deficit to emerge with a comfortable 42-22 victory at Mt. Smart stadium.
Entering the match without stars Josh Dugan and Sam Williams, the Raiders started the match poorly lacking the intensity that served them so well in Canberra last Friday.
It didn't take the Warriors long to capitalise as they nailed their trade-mark spread down the left-hand touchline to send Manu Vatuvei over for the opening try of the contest.
Canberra replied swiftly with Berrigan collecting a well positioned grubber from McCrone to lock the scores up.
The joy was short-lived though as Reece Robinson threw a wayward pass over the sidelines. The Warriors took advantage with Matulino spinning his way over the line with relative ease.
With all the momentum, the Warriors were able to extend their lead with tries to Godniet and Vatuvei who was able to collect his double with a carbon copy effort as his first try to hand the Warriors a promising 22-6 lead at half-time.
With a strong wind behind their backs, the Raiders emerged a more focussed side in the second half and made their intentions clear with a simple but effective try to underrated lock Shaun Fensom.
Warriors were desperate to hold the Raiders at bay and despite a try-saving intercept from Bill Tupou they just couldn't stop Reece Robinson who used his agility to bamboozle Maloney and extend his personal try tally to 15.
From there, nothing could stop the Raiders. In what was an all too familiar site for the Warriors they surrendered meekly allowing the Raiders to score a further 24 points including a great try to Blake Ferguson which included a freakish flick pass from enigmatic winger Sandor Earl.
Canberra will be sweating on the result of the Cronulla/Cowboys game to see whether or not they'll host a home final. While the Warriors will have an entire off-season to ponder how a side that was talented enough to be grand finalists bombed out of the 2012 premiership in such a disappointing fashion.
New Zealand Warriors 22 were defeated by Canberra Raiders 42
National Rugby League - Round 26 - Sunday September 2, 2012 2:00pm
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Referee: Jason Robinson and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Ricky MacFarlane and Nick Beashel
Halftime: New Zealand Warriors Canberra Raiders
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (22)
Tries: Manu Vatuvei (2), Ben Matulino, Pita Godinet
Conversions: James Maloney (1/1), Ben Henry (2/3)
CANBERRA RAIDERS (42)
Tries: Shaun Berrigan, Reece Robinson (2), Shaun Fensom, Blake Ferguson (2), Josh Papalii
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (6/7)
Penalty Goals: Jarrod Croker (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Canberra will be looking to finish the season strongly after last week's shock upset over the Bulldogs - a superb performance. A win today gives them a shot at a home final depending on the result of the Sharks v Cowboys match later today.
Team changes: Warriors lose Sione Lousi off the bench, with James Maloney included. The starting side is 1-13. The Raiders lose Josh Dugan (ankle) and Sam Williams (shoulder). Dimitri Pelo comes into fullback (#19), with Shaun Berrigan at halfback. Joe Picker will start in the second row, relegating Joel Thompson to the bench. The new player on the interchange bench is Travis Waddell, who will likely relieve Glen Buttriss throughout the match at hooker.
1 min: Canberra kick off to get the game under way at Mt. Smart!
6 min: Forward pass from dummy half gifts Warriors with the first attacking chance of the game.
7 min: Warriors go left to hulking winger Manu Vatuvei who is swiftly shown the sideline 10m out from the Raiders line. Good defence but too predictable from the Warriors.
9 min: TRY
On the back of a McCrone mistake, the Warriors once again find themselves in premium territory and take advantage. Tuimavave combines with Hurrell to send the 'Beast' over to open the scoring for the day.
New Zealand Warriors 6-0
11 min: What a remarkable kick off! The breeze holds the kick off allowing the Raiders to reclaim possession on the Warriors 30m line.
13 min: Warriors defence held firm and now the Raiders are rucking it out of their own half.
14 min: Anxious moments for young Carlos Tuimavave at the back as he appeared to have lost it. Fortunately for him the referee calls it a strip.
15 min: Jacob Lillyman is penalised for holding down. Shillington decides against going for touch and takes a quick tap from around halfway & the Raiders are deep on attack here!
16 min: TRY
McCrone with a wall of chasers kicks the ball behind the line & Berrigan is rewarded with just his 2nd try of the season.
18 min: Raiders create the numbers down the right but Robinson spoils the play by throwing a terrible forward pass that ends up going over the sideline. Warriors with the ball at around the Raiders 30m mark.
20 min: TRY
Matulino produces a trademark steam-rolling run adjacent the posts to reclaim the lead for the Warriors. Raiders defence was brittle all set & it appeared to only be a matter of which tackle the Warriors would score.
New Zealand Warriors 12-6
25 min: Both sides just happy to ruck it up here. Raiders are winning the territory battle slightly but the wind is making it difficult to build any pressure.
26 min: Off the scrum Vatuvei makes a good break down the left fringe before being taken down by McCrone. In his desperation, McCrone holds onto Vatuvei too long conceding the penalty for the Warriors. Hint of a professional foul but the referee doesn't see it that way.
28 min: TRY
Beautiful passes from Mateo & Tuimavave gives Vatuvei all the space he needs down the left hand sideline to collect a deserved early double. Henry just misses the conversion from the sideline.
New Zealand Warriors 16-6
32 min: Change of angles from the ruck gives Maloney the room to make half a break down the right fringe. However, his pass to Ben Henry is poor & just as Henry gathers it he's taken into touch 40m away from the Raiders line.
34 min: A poor kick from Berrigan spoils an otherwise promising set for the Raiders. Canberra compound the poor play by giving away a relieving penalty inside the Warriors half.
35 min: We're going upstairs for a potential try to the Warriors!
36 min: TRY
Short exchange of passes creates a hole for Godinet to squeeze through and open his account for the season. Referee was concerned about an obstruction on Learoyd-Lahrs but it was merely a poor read. Maloney from just right of the posts bangs it over easy as you like.
New Zealand Warriors 22-6
37 min: A silly offload from Ta'ai puts Brown under all sorts & he knocks the rolling ball forward. Raiders with the ball 10m out from the Warriors line.
38 min: Manu does brilliantly well to get out of his own in-goal only for Hurrell to spill it the next play.
39 min: Back to back penalties to the Raiders puts the Warriors defence under all sorts of pressure.
40 min: What a frantic finish to the half! Raiders throw it left to right before Berrigan puts a grubber through for McCrone who bounces it just before the dead-ball line. It's half-time!
41 min: Warriors kick off to open the second half.
42 min: It doesn't take the Raiders long to use the win with McCrone launching a big mid-field bomb that completely bamboozles the Warriors down the left. However, Ferguson fails to come up with resulting in a turn over on the Warriors 30m.
44 min: Raiders found themselves deep in attack but a questionably last tackle play from McCrone ends with Tilse having to put an uninspired kick through which is easily claimed by Tuimavave.
45 min: TRY
This was too easy from the Raiders! Buttriss from dummy half throws it inside to Fensom who races through a huge gap and powers his way over underneath the posts. Is this deja vu from the Warriors?
New Zealand Warriors 22-12
50 min: Raiders all over the Warriors at the moment. Making huge ground with each set while keeping the Warriors trapped inside their own half. This wind has really played a big part in today's game.
55 min: Croker makes a break after the Raiders spread it wide inside their own half. Raiders look like scoring for all money before Tupou intercepts the pass just before the line. Goal line drop out Raiders.
56 min: TRY
Raiders once again find success down the left. Robinson dances past Maloney to score a fairly simple try. Game well and truly back on!
New Zealand Warriors 22-18
61 min: Warriors receive six again after the refs. rule that Croker played at Hurrell's pass. Warriors with their best chance of the half inside the Raiders half.
62 min: The chance goes to waste as Mateo offloads the ball straight to a Raider.
63 min: Berrigan's turns Tuimavave inside and out right near his posts and rewards the Raiders with a goal line drop out.
65 min: We're going upstairs for a potential Raiders try!
66 min: TRY
Berrigan kicks it cross-field to the wing of Sandor Earl who claims it above Manu before flicking it back to Ferguson who falls over the line to score!
Canberra Raiders 24-22
68 min: We're going upstairs for another Raiders try!
68 min: TRY
Ferguson gathers a towering mid-field bomb, steps on the outside of the desperate Warriors defenders to extend the Raiders lead.
Canberra Raiders 30-22
70 min: PENALTY GOAL
Warriors are deemed to have stripped the ball 20m out from their own line.
Canberra Raiders 32-22
72 min: TRY
Stop the fight! Robinson claims a great off-load from Papalii who stuck his nose through and scores underneath the sticks.
Canberra Raiders 38-22
75 min: Papalii once again sneaks through on the right fringe but Waddell can't collect the pass. Warriors with the ball just on half-way.
76 min: TRY
This is just too easy for the Raiders. After forcing the Warriors on the back-foot all set McCrone sums the situation perfectly with a pin-point grubber through the line to find Papalii who scores one of the easiest tries he'll score this year.
Canberra Raiders 42-22
80 min: Vatuvei is taken over the sideline to see out a remarkable fight back from the Raiders who scored 36 unanswered points in the second half.