Canberra have won a messy but exciting clash at GIO Stadium tonight, fighting off a Cronulla comeback and Matt Moylan field goal, recording a 24-19 win in Jack Wighton's 200th appearance.
While Cronulla were expected to dominate coming into the contest, it would be Canberra who started the stronger side, with Wighton celebrating in perfect fashion, dotting down for the Raiders' opening try after eight minutes.
Having earlier spilled it over the line and costing his side a four-pointer, Semi Valemei scored the home team's second try at the 17 minute mark. Brad Schneider's conversion - his second from two attempts - saw the Raiders lead 12-0.
After barely seeing their opposition goalline all game, Cronulla strolled over relatively easily with Blayke Brailey sneaking around the scrumbase to open the Shire club's account for 2022.
In the shadows of halftime it was Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad who ensured the Raiders had a scoreline representing their relative dominance after 40 minutes, pouncing on a Starling grubber. The Green Machine went to the break 18-6 up.
Cronulla looked much sharper after the break, dominating possession and territory - though it took until the 50th minute for them to turn that advantage into points. Will Kennedy busted through the line for his side's second try, which after being converted by Nicho Hynes narrowed the gap back to six.
Hynes would play a crucial role in the next Sharks try, putting Teig Wilton into space and ultimately levelling the scores.
The 18-all scoreline remained for nearly 20 minutes more despite Canberra's best efforts - including Wighton being denied a try by the Bunker after Schneider touched the ball, knocking it on the lead up.
With seven minutes on the clock, Matt Moylan casually knocked a one-pointer between the sticks to give the Sharks their first lead of the day, but it would be short lived.
Three minutes later it was Raiders forward Hudson Young scoring off a near-perfect inside offload by Matt Timoko. The conversion from Schneider saw the Raiders five-point leaders with about 3-and-a-half minutes left to hold out their opponents.
Try as they might - including Matt Ikuvalu being held up with mere seconds remaining - Cronulla couldn't crack the Canberra line and will head back up the Hume without anything to show for their troubles.
Next Saturday the Sharks are at home to Parramatta, while Canberra are off on a Townsville trip to face the Cowboys on the same evening.