Saturday, 18 August 2012
The Raiders kept their NRL finals hopes alive with a 24-20 win over the Sydney Roosters in a spiteful clash in Canberra on Saturday.
Led by five-eighth Josh McCrone and man-of-the-match Josh Dugan, Canberra held on despite a late charge by the Roosters who had Anthony Minichiello sent off with six minutes remaining.
The victory put the Raiders equal on points with seventh-placed Brisbane and eight-placed Wests Tigers but in ninth on points difference.
A Jarrod Croker penalty after Minichiello's dismissal for an elbow to the head of rival fullback Dugan put the Raiders ahead 24-16 and Tautau Moga's athletic four-pointer with 90 seconds on the clock set up a tense finish.
The home side broke a 16-16 deadlock in the 66th minute following a Reece Robinson try when the Roosters defence allowed a cross-field kick to bounce into the winger's arms.
Blake Ferguson's long-range effort had put the Raiders ahead 16-10 in the 50th minute before Roosters back-rower Jack Bosden replied 10 minutes later, with a conversion from Braith Anasta levelling the scores.
The Roosters would have been happy when the sides went to halftime at 10-10 after the Raiders had 55 per cent of possession and nearly 200 extra running metres in the first 40 minutes.
It was the Raiders' third straight win and the last time they achieved that was in 2010 in their push for that season's finals.
"We have to keep winning games and it gives us an opportunity to keep going," coach David Furner told reporters after the game.
Furner said Dugan would have a few stitches and added he doesn't regard Minichiello as a dirty player.
"I don't think he's that sort of player, sometimes you are trying to win games, but it did not look good," he said.
Roosters coach Brian Smith refused to discuss the incident but said his side had two really close calls in the second half that could have changed the match.
A pass by Brad Takairangi was ruled forward while winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was deemed to have been held up from placing the ball down for a try.
"You can't say we would have won because they could have chip kicked and regathered and won by 20," Smith said.
"You look at a four-point deficit on the scoreboard and all the things we did well but not quite enough.
"They had eight sets more than us tonight and our guys finished the game full of running we had a great opportunity playing against a team going for the playoffs."