Canberra Raiders have moved back into the top eight of the NRL ladder after gaining a 24-16 victory over a depleted Sydney Roosters at GIO Stadium today.
The Raiders, who led 16-6 at half-time, were generally unconvincing and at one point in the second half the Roosters threatened an upset, but in the last seconds of the game Aidan Sezer picked up a loose ball and ran the length of the field to score and settle the contest.
In the first half the Roosters had opened the scoring through Jake Friend, but the Raiders struck back with two tries to in-form winger Jordan Rapana and one to skipper Jarrod Croker, giving him his 1,500th point in first grade.
In the second half the Roosters narrowed the gap when Joseph Manu touched down in the right corner with Michael Gordon’s conversion cutting the gap to four points.
Jarrod Croker then landed a penalty goal but the Roosters replied with a brilliant try by Latrell Mitchell, although Gordon failed to equalise the scores when he missed the conversion.
The Roosters tried desperately to score again in the final ten seconds but a loose pass by Daniel Tupou allowed Sezer to dash down the field to seal a dramatic victory.
Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Junior Paulo, 9 Josh Hodgson, 10 Shannon Boyd, 15 Luke Bateman, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Iosia Soliola; Interchange: 11 Joseph Tapine, 14 Adam Clydsdale, 16 Clay Priest, 17 Dunamis Lui.
Roosters: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Mitchell Aubusson, 5 Joseph Manu, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Luke Keary, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Kane Evans, 11 Ryan Matterson, 12 Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 13 Zane Tetevano; Interchange: 14 Isaac Liu, 15 Lindsay Collins, 16 Chris Smith, 17 Mitchell Cornish.
Full coverage of all the weekend’s NRL matches can be found in Monday’s issue of League Express