Roosters edge out Raiders in

The Sydney Roosters have beaten the Canberra Raiders 20-16 in a top of the table thriller at Aussie Stadium.

The Raiders dominated the opening stages of the first half despite some shaky moments in the opening minutes. Mark McLinden scored their first try in the 8th minute and just 4 minutes later McLinden sparked their second with Croker eventually dotting the ball down for a 10-2 lead.

The turning point for the Raiders was when Drew came onto the field. The Raiders looked much more dangerous with McLinden running the show in the opening 20 minutes. The Raiders lacked spark on attack from that point on with Drew at first receiver.

With the Raiders losing momentum the Roosters clawed their way back into the game with Cross scoring two tries with the scores eventually being tied at 14 all at the break.

The second half was to be the opposite of the first. The Roosters came out flying but once the Raiders fought off the early pressure it settled down into an arm wrestle. The scores remained tied until the 72nd minute when Chris Walker gave away a penalty giving Clinton Schifcofske a long range penalty goal.

Two points wasn?t enough for the Raiders though as the Roosters hit back in a grandstand finish. Schifcofske dropped a Fittler bomb which gave the Roosters a sniff. They then delivered the killer punch with Hegarty scoring in the corner.

In the end the Raiders may not have taken victory but they have shown themselves and the competition that they can mix it with the best of them.

Leagueunlimited?s Player of the Year Awards: 3 ? M Crocker 2 ? C Wing 1 ? M McLinden

Friday 1 August 2003 7:30 PM Aussie Stadium Referee: Bill Harrigan Video Referee: Tim Mander

Scorers: ROOSTERS Tries: 2 Cross, Hegarty Goals: Crocker 4/5 RAIDERS Tries: McLinden, Crocker, Drew Goals: Schifcofske 2/5

By the clock: 0 min: Kickoff!

4th min: NEWS - The Roosters are getting physical right from the outset while the Raiders kicked out on the full in their first set and knocked on in their second.

5th min: PENALTY GOAL - Roosters. The Raiders continue their horror start giving away a penalty and Michael Crocker slots the two points - Roosters 2-0.

8th min: TRY - Raiders. Mark McLinden ran to the line, threw a dummy, went between Ricketson and Cayless and then ran to the corner to score a great individual try. Schifcofske converts from the sideline - Raiders 6-2.

12th min: TRY - Raiders. Canberra have scored just about the try of the year. McLinden ran on the last tackle and got the ball away to Mogg who ran down the sideline and passed inside to Monaghan. The ball then came back to McLinden who finally sent it onto Crocker who scored in the corner. Schifcofske fails to convert - Raiders 10-2.

16th min: NEWS - The match has really lifted in intensity. Canberra got a chance to score courtesy of a Chris Walker brain explosion and then Fittler made a huge break before Minichiello knocked on.

20th min: NEWS - Bill Harrigan has come up with a couple of dreadful calls on top of 6 penalties already.

23rd min: NEWS - Clinton Shifcofske missed a penalty goal hitting the posts. The ball bounced back into play with the Roosters gaining possession.

26th min: TRY - Roosters. Brad Fittler put in an awkward kick that Bulgarelli let bounce. He soon regreted that decision as Ryan Cross came storming through to take the ball and score. Crocker converts - Raiders 10-8.

31st min: TRY - Raiders. Brad Drew from first reciever broke through a Morely tackle and then took Crocker and Minichiello over the line with him to score. Schifcofske fails to convert - Canberra 14-8.

32nd min: NEWS - Luke Ricketson has been taken to the sheds with a hip injury that he sustained early in the match.

39th min: TRY - Roosters. It was all set up with a bust from Wing. The Roosters then went to the short side an Cross strolled over in the corner courtesy of a Minichiello cut out ball. Crocker converts - 14 all.

Halftime: The Raiders will be dissapointed not to be leading as they have been the better side to date despite a shaky start. Halftime score - 14 all.

41st min: The second half is underway!

44th min: NEWS - The Roosters are dictating the early stages of the second half with Craig Wing reeking havoc.

48th min: NEWS - Chad Robinson is taken from the field looking very dazed and confused after taking a huge hit from Ruben Wiki.

54th min: NEWS - The match is a real arm wrestle at the moment with the Raiders now getting things back on level terms after fighting off early pressure.

57th min: NEWS - Michael Crocker missed a penalty goal from about 40 metres out. He put the ball dead though forcing the Raiders to drop kick from their 20 metre line.

64th min: NEWS - The Raiders have had several chances in Roosters territory but don't look like making any inroads into the Roosters defence.

66th min: NEWS - Adrian Morely has been put on report for a head high tackle that will probably see him suspended.

71st min: NEWS - Todd Byrne has been taken from the field after a very heavy tackle.

72nd min: PENALTY GOAL - Chris Walker gave away a penalty and Clinton Schifcofske slotted the two points to take the lead - Raiders 16-14.

79th min: TRY - Roosters. The Roosters have sealed victory with Hegarty going over in the corner in a dramatic finish. Crocker converts - Roosters 20-16.

Fulltime: The Roosters have won a hard fought thriller at Aussie Stadium. Final Score - Roosters 20-16.