There were fireworks to start and finish the contest, but for the second time in a month Canberra have won in Melbourne. The Raiders triumphed 12-10 in a fiery contest with 20,136 fans inside Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
Lightning has struck twice, the Raiders producing a remarkable late try to defeat Melbourne, at their usually fortress-like home ground. John Bateman's 76th minute try was enough to triumph after an eight-point burst following half-time put the Minor Premiers in the driver's seat.
Finals football is a different beast but having a firework prevent Joseph Leilua from starting the game is a new one. His replacement Bailey Simonsson, who was brought into the side moments before kick-off as Leilua's replacement, finished off a backline movement and scored the opener as the Raiders took a 6-2 lead into the break.
Canberra were the dominant side in the first stanza, but couldn't press home the advantage. Jarrod Croker missed a pair of penalty goals while Jordan Rapana had a four-pointer chalked off for offside, as Ricky Stuart knew his side needed to be further ahead of the 2018 runners-up.
Melbourne came out stung by a Craig Bellamy spray and promptly atoned for their first half. Suliasi Vunivalu leapt highest to make it 6-6 then Cameron Smith nailed a pair of easy penalty goals that put them ahead 10-6. Forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona underlined their vigour with his runs from kick-off scattering Canberra defenders.
The Raiders refused to go away though - they defended gainfully, and got themselves into the final ten still in the game. Then the moment happened. Josh Addo-Carr had the ball pop out trying to carry it out then a fired-up Leilua swung across field before he turned John Batemen, who has endeared himself in his first season in the NRL, stepped across for another famous Canberra win in Melbourne.
Canberra now will host a preliminary final in a fortnight's time at Canberra Stadium. For the Storm, they go through the hard road to get to the big dance, taking on the winner of tomorrow's game between Parramatta and Brisbane.