Late tries from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Blake Green helped New Zealand Warriors upset Canberra Raiders 24-20 this afternoon at Canberra Stadium.
In what has been a disappointing campaign, the Warriors finished on a high. There has been referee controversy, long losing streaks but the Warriors showed grit tonight coming back from eight-points down to win.
Tuivasa-Sheck got them going with a try of the season contender. The ball went through every Warriors player and ended with the reigning Dally M medallist slicing through. To complete the trick, Blake Green just popped through some lackluster Raiders defense to secure an eighth win of the season.
Making wholesale changes, the usually vibrant Raiders were listless this afternoon. Sebastian Kris in for the suspended Joey Leilua took advantage from a superman dive from Elliot Whitehead to make it 4-nil.
When Josh Papalii motored through followed by Josh Hodgson just before the break, the Raiders looked prime for a trip to the Sydney Cricket Ground next weekend. Despite their four-point advantage, the attack wasn't crisp from the Raiders and it looked like they thought they just had to turn up.
For their part, the Warriors remained in the contest. Adam Pompey and Lachlan Burr ran terrific lines to get their 12 points in the first half. Despite having nothing but pride to play for, the Warriors leave 2019 with one last positive memory.
Michael Oldfield has made a habit of tries at Canberra - scoring eight in his last eight appearances - and his blazing effort down the sideline looked to have been enough for a makeshift Raiders to confirm third spot.
Not to be, the two experienced men in the Warriors side - Tuivasa-Sheck and Green - struck a late blow. There was one last final referee spat for the Warriors to deal with after Taane Milne's 66th minute effort was chalked off for an escort.
There will be a nervous wait for the Raiders before their trip to Melbourne now. Young forward Hudson Young, who was done earlier this year for an eye gouge, was caught in the Pompey try to rake the centre's eyes twice. Alongside that is a season-ending injury to Oldfield will leave Ricky Stuart ropable with his side.