The Raiders stunned the Dragons with a dramatic last-seconds play to steal a 24-19 victory at Canberra Stadium in Round 20 last year.
On a freezing Monday night in the nation’s capital the Green Machine overcame an 18-6 deficit at halftime, with Josh Dugan snatching victory with his second try of the evening as the fulltime siren loomed.
It was Dugan who launched their second-half comeback when he bounced out of a brace of would-be Dragons tacklers 20 metres out to power over under the posts in the 53rd minute, before Blake Ferguson’s try in the right corner from a scrum saw the teams draw level with 17 minutes remaining.
Jamie Soward appeared to have sealed victory for the Red V when he piloted over a pressure-cooker field-goal with 98 seconds left on the clock but the Raiders managed to get the ball back from their short restart of play, leaving them one last bite in attack. They worked the ball downfield, then Josh McCrone dabbed a grubber into the in-goal that Dugan somehow managed to pounce on before on-the-spot Dragons Nathan Fien and Brett Morris.
It was a remarkable, against-the-odds victory by the Raiders who were dominated by St George Illawarra everywhere but on the scoreboard. The Dragons completed their sets at a season-best 95 per cent (to Canberra’s 85 per cent), made five line-breaks to three, committed just five errors (to the Raiders’ 10) and missed just 17 tackles (to the Raiders’ 38).
Dugan (two tries, 180 metres and six tackle-breaks) and McCrone (two try assists) were the stars for Canberra, while Trent Merrin was unstoppable for the visitors (19 hit-ups, 177 metres).