Raiders' record comeback downs Tigers
Canberra have recorded their biggest comeback in the club's history to score a controversial but impressive 30-22 victory over the Wests Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
In front of a hardy crowd of 13,198 at Leichhardt Oval, the Tigers thought they had stolen a win when Luke Brooks dived on a Robbie Farah grubber in the 76th minute.
However, much to the despair of the home crowd, the video referees ruled that the Tigers skipper had run behind Keith Galloway in the lead-up.
Down 22-0 after just 25 minutes, Canberra slowly worked their way back into the match and reduced the deficit to 10 by halftime.
With the wind now at their back, the visitors got it back to four when Frank-Paul Nuuausala crashed over under the posts on a Kurt Baptiste short ball in the 45th minute.
But they were forced to wait until the 64th minute to draw level when Sam Williams held it up long enough to put Jack Wighton over the line.
Skipper Jarrod Croker missed the relatively conversion, but recovered to nail the go-ahead 43-metre penalty goal four minutes later and give his side an unlikely lead.
Winger Jordan Rapana – who endured a horror start to the match – punctuated the victory with a try on the final siren.
All week Tigers players spoke of their affinity for their spiritual ground and courtesy of a fierce southerly, it didn't take long for them to show why.
A Rapana turnover on Canberra's first use of the ball kickstarted the avalanche, and by the end of the set the Raiders winger exacerbated his error with a wrong defensive read that allowed Tim Simona to take a well-executed Brooks cutout in the 3rd.
The Raiders' shock opening only worsened when a penalty from the re-start again put the Tigers in the red zone, and a charging Galloway gladly obliged when he ran onto a Farah short ball two minute later.
By the time the visitors got their second touch of the ball in the 10th minute, they had made 46 of the first 51 tackles.
But the Tigers weren't done, and came up with what was easily the try of the match in the 20th minute.
James Tedesco made full use of a Farah offload when he torched a couple of defenders and flicked a pass to Simona, who in turn found a supporting Brooks before being upended by Wighton.
The Raiders fullback was put on report for putting Simona in a dangerous position, and the team was staring at an 18-0 deficit.
However a 29th minute try against the run of play to substitute prop Shannon Boyd lifted the visitors, who got themselves back within two tries when a leaping Croker took an Austin kick in the 35th.
Raiders forward Josh Papalii was also put on report in the 57th minute for a crusher tackle on Aaron Woods.
Canberra Raiders 30 (Shannon Boyd, Jarrod Croker, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Jack Wighton, Jordan Rapana tries; Jarrod Croker 5 goals) defeated Wests Tigers 22 (Tim Simona, Keith Galloway, Luke Brooks, Pat Richards tries; Pat Richards 3 goals). Crowd: 13,198. Halftime: 22-12.