Canberra Raiders booked their first Grand Final appearance in 25 years after defeating South Sydney Rabbitohs 16-10.
After some early pressure from South Sydney, the Raiders opened the scoring when Jarrod Croker was on hand to ground the ball when it was spilled by Corey Allan.
Croker converted the try but missed a penalty as Canberra looked to extend their lead. They would, however, go in at the break level with their opponents. A neat scrum play from the away side saw Dane Gagai get on the outside of Croker for the try.
The Raiders quickly took the lead in the second half when Jack Wighton kicked the ball ahead for himself.
Canberra survived plenty of pressure and even when Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was sin binned for a professional foul on Adam Reynolds with ten minutes left, Josh Papalii scored a brilliant solo try to seal the Raiders’ first Grand Final since 1994.
Campbell Graham scored a last-minute consolation giving the Bunnies one more play to draw level but they weren’t able to capitalise.
Raiders: Nicoll-Klokstad, Cotric, Croker, Leilua, Rapana, Wighton, Sezer, Papalii, Hodgson, Soliola, Bateman, Whitehead, Tapine; Interchanges: Simonsson, Guler, Horsburgh, Lui
Tries: Croker, Wighton, Papalii; Goals: Croker 2
Sin bin: Nicoll-Klokstad (70) – professional foul
On report: Papalii (50) – high tackle
Rabbitohs: Doueihi, Johnston, Graham, Gagai, Allan, Walker, Reynolds, S Burgess, Cook, Knight, Sutton, Lowe, Murray; Interchanges: T Burgess, Tatola, Nicholls, Britt
Tries: Gagai, Graham; Goals: Reynolds
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.