Intercept hands Dragons golden win
A golden point intercept try from Euan Aitken right on half-time of extra time has seen the St George Illawarra Dragons record an amazing 16-12 win over the Canberra Raiders at a blacked out UOW Jubilee Oval.
The Raiders chanced their arm as the half-time buzzer sounded in extra-time, but unfortunately for fullback Jack Wighton it was Country Origin teammate Aitken who would pluck the pass mid-air to run 20 metres to score.
Canberra had locked up the scores in the final minutes of regular time through a try to Jarrod Croker – now the highest point-scorer in Raiders history – but they couldn't clinch the win despite a couple of close field goal attempts from Aidan Sezer.
Wighton and Aitken were two of seven players backing up from Sunday's City v Country game in Tamworth and it surely won't be a game any of them will forget anytime soon.
A blackout in the south-west corner of the ground darkening half of the ground for the entire game making for extra difficult conditions. The blackout occurred late on in the under-20s curtain raiser and remained for the entire game as a faulty nearby substation caused all power to be lost in three nearby blocks of residential area.
The Raiders were the first to attack in the dark end of the paddock and looked to have scored the game's first try in the eighth minute but were denied once it became apparent Joey Leilua had dropped the ball over the line.
It was the story of the game for the Raiders who failed to capitalise on several opportunities in attacking territory.
The Dragons scored the first half's only try in the 16th minute when a Mitch Rein pass from dummy half hit a fast and flat Tyson Frizell next to the uprights.
One of the game's biggest talking point came in the 34th minute when Dragons back-rower Joel Thompson's high shot on a bloodied Blake Austin went unpunished.
A penalty goal off the boot of skipper Gareth Widdop extended the Red V's lead to eight in the 50th minute.
The Raiders finally posted points in the 55th minute following a long-winding Edrick Lee break, scoring on the other side of the field a play later through fellow winger Jordan Rapana – his eighth try in four games.
The Dragons restored their lead 10 minutes later when a magic flick pass from Jason Nightingale – who had looked destined to be carried over the sideline – landed in the hands of Tim Lafai for the centre's first try as a Dragon.
The Raiders finally had their second try when another Lee line break allowed skipper Croker to score – the centre in the process becoming the Raiders' greatest point-scorer.
With the game looking headed to golden point, Sezer looked to have stolen the game in the final 60 seconds with his 35-metre field goal attempt shaving the front of the crossbar.
The Raiders missed two futher field goal attempts, with one striking the post – though nobody's night finished much darker than Wighton's as he watched his pass fall into the hands of Aitken for the match-winning try.
St George Illawarra Dragons 16 (Tyson Frizell, Tim Lafai, Euan Aitken tries; Gareth Widdop 2 goals) defeated Canberra Raiders 12 (Jordan Rapana, Jarrod Croker tries; Jarrod Croker 2 goals) in golden point extra time at UOW Jubilee Oval. Crowd: 9,647. Half-time: Dragons 6-0