Raiders steal golden point victory
The Canberra Raiders have scored an absolutely stunning golden point victory with Josh Hodgson going over untouched out of dummy half to seal a 28-24 point victory at Pirtek Stadium.
Hodgson scored the match-winner as the Eels defence charged out to challenge a Sam Williams field goal, leaving the crafty Raiders hooker with open pastures ahead of him with one minute remaining in the first period of golden point.
The Raiders recovered two kick-offs late in the game to somehow force golden point, leveling the game in the final seconds of normal time.
Jarrod Croker's sideline conversion off Edrick Lee's 80th minute try capping off a stunning afternoon for the Raiders captain who sealed the top point scoring honours in the NRL in his man-of-the-match performance.
Despite a complete lack of possession, particularly within Parramatta's 20-metre zone, the Raiders somehow kept themselves in the game for 70 minutes.
Croker being their main attacking target, scoring two and going close on numerous other occasions.
Meanwhile Corey Norman was super impressive for the Eels, controlling their attack brilliantly and getting early ball out to the season's top try-scorer Semi Radradra, who went over in dubious circumstances twice to claim his club record 24th try of the season.
Radradra would finish the game in stunning fashion, breaking through the Raiders line at will late in the piece.
Canberra were first on the board as departing prop David Shillington picked up a loose ball to run 50 meters downfield before Brenko Lee went over far too easily, almost untouched out of dummy half.
The Eels had the better of the ensuing 20 minutes, but struggled to finish their sets effectively, dying with the ball on multiple occasions.
However when they did put the ball on the boot the Green Machine were struggling to clean it up, in particular Waqa at the back who repeatedly dropped high balls.
Croker looked the most likely for the Raiders and ran away 80 metres with a brilliant interception with 10 remaining in the half, however his former teammate Reece Robinson caught him metres from the line.
The Raiders couldn't capitalise off their great position though, instead handing the ball back to the Eels who answered with the next eight minutes parked on the Raiders goal-line.
But Canberra would hold them out for consecutive sets, until big Radradra stepped up in typical fashion, cutting back inside through a gaping hole to charge over for his 23rd try of the season equaling the club record set by Steve Ella in 1982.
And the Fijian broke the Eels' record for most tries ever in a season, on the back end of a nice backline play out to the left-hand side.
Kelly's sideline conversion just missed, leaving the Eels with a 10-6 lead with half an hour remaining.
Four minutes later Croker finally had his four-pointer, having been agonisingly close twice previously in the game.
Off the back of some nice dummy half play by Kurt Baptiste, the Raiders captain went over down the left side to level James Maloney as the NRL's leading point scorer, converting his own try to surpass it.
Despite only 44 per cent possession and 12 errors to that point, the Raiders somehow had a 12-10 lead with 25 remaining.
And they'd be in again after some enterprising play at the back from Waqa to put Edrick Lee away off a kick return.
The Green Machine would make 80 metres off that movement before Croker went in again for his 80th career try, this time off a nice grubber from Williams.
But the Eels wouldn’t drop their heads, big Junior Paulo powering over three Raiders defenders in the 69th minute to bring his team back into it.
And soon after Radradra sent Ryan Morgan flying away down the left hand side.
Waqa came across in cover to shut him down, but attempted to slow down the ensuing play and was sent to the bin for the professional foul.
Against 12 men the Eels would capitalise, powerful prop Daniel Alvarro barging over from close range to give his team a four point lead with five minutes remaining.
Once again the Raiders recovered their own kick-off with a minute left on the clock.
They charged down field 40 metres from there to put Edrick Lee away down the left-hand side.
Down by two points with no time remaining on the clock, Croker had to convert from the sideline, and that he did, nailing his kick to take the game to extra time.
And the Green Machine would emerge victors out of extra time thanks to Hodgson's late try, giving David Shillington a winning send off after seven seasons in green.
Canberra Raiders 28 (Edrick Lee, Josh Hodgson, Jarrod Croker 2 tries; Jarrod Croker 4 goals) defeated Parramatta Eels 24 (Semi Radradra 2, Joseph Paulo, Daniel Alvaro tries; Luke Kelly 3 goals) at Pirtek Stadium. Crowd 10,515