Canberra have scored three tries in the final thirty minutes to overcome a gutsy Warriors side 20 points to 16 in front of 9,699 fans at Canberra Stadium tonight.
Two teams who have struggled through the opening five weeks of the competition, Canberra and New Zealand came out committed looking to find some form.
Warriors were forced to defend their line early with penalties and errors handing it back to Canberra. The home side pounced in the 11th minute when after a few kicks on last, Sandor Earl was in miles of space to score.
Parity would be restored in the 15th when Manu Vatuvei grabbed his first despite a contentious final pass. Vatuvei had a brace ten minutes later following a simple sweep play showing the Warriors weren't going away quietly.
The game settled down from it's early frantic pace with both sides looking to hold possession. There was a roar when talisman five-eighth Terry Campese returned to the field but no points going to the break.
Six minutes into the second half, Warriors added to their lead with Vatuvei evading a 5th tackle kick for Ben Henry to pounce and extend the lead to 16-6 for the visitors.
Following that though started a prolonged spell of dominance for the Raiders where they over ran the Warriors who were forced to tackle twice as much as their opponents.
Sam Williams swooped on a McCrone offload for the Raiders second before Edrick Lee entered the contest. His first try was scored despite the attention of three defenders and leaving the home side trailing by two.
Despite the Warriors continuing to cough up the football like a cat with a hairball, Canberra weren't able to convert their dominance. That was until a massive leap suited more to Manuka Oval than Canberra Stadium from Lee gave them the lead and a much needed home victory.
Canberra Raiders 20 New Zealand Warriors 16
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Halftime Score: Warriors 10-4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Terry Campese
2 points - Edrick Lee
1 point - Manu Vatuvei
CANBERRA RAIDERS (20)
Tries: Sandor Earl, Edrick Lee (2), Sam Williams
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (2/4)
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (16)
Tries: Manu Vatuvei (2), Ben Henry
Conversions: Shaun Johnson (2/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
CAN: Terry Campese and Joel Thompson return in #18 and #19 respectively with Anthony Milford and Joe Picker dropping out.
WAR: Dane Nielsen is IN and Ben Matulino start. Bill Tupou is out and Sam Rapira goes to the bench.
It was examined and GREEN LIGHT! TRY! Sandor Earl following a succession of kicks plants the ball down with a slight suspicion of offside. Croker misses the conversion.
Scored by Sandor Earl. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker unsuccessful.
Canberra Raiders 4-0
TRY Warriors! They kept it alive on last tackle with quick hands that finishes with Vatuvei who puts it down for the TRY. Vatuvei's reaction shows that the final pass for the try was forward. Johnson from the sideline, misses after hitting the post.
Scored by Manu Vatuvei. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson unsuccessful.
Good set play from the Warriors, they got Kevin Locke one on one with his defender and he finds Vatuvei in space who touches down with another simple try Johnson with another tough conversion, goes over.
Scored by Manu Vatuvei. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson successful.
New Zealand Warriors 10-4
GREEN LIGHTS.. TRY! A nice kick evades being touched by Vatuvei but Ben Henry doesn't miss and scores the Warriors third try. Johnson converts.
Scored by Ben Henry. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson successful.
New Zealand Warriors 16-4
It's been given the GREEN LIGHTS! Edrick Lee was given ball in space and with three defenders on him is able to keep himself and the ball inside for the four pointer. Croker with the conversion, hits the upright and out.
Scored by Edrick Lee. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker unsuccessful.
New Zealand Warriors 16-8
Last tackle, McCrone goes himself despite the protests of Campese and pops an offload to Williams who touches down for a try. Croker converts.
Scored by Sam Williams. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker successful.
New Zealand Warriors 16-14
WHAT A LEAP! Campese floats one that hangs in the air for Edrick Lee to fly through the air and score what may be the match winner for the Canberra Raiders. Croker from besides the posts, slams it through.
Scored by Edrick Lee. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker successful.
Canberra Raiders 20-16