Raiders make it six straight in the NYC
The Raiders' stunning mid-season Holden Cup revival has continued with Canberra edging out the Cronulla Sharks 18-12 on Saturday afternoon to make it six-straight wins in the NYC.
Both teams scored three tries apiece in what was an absorbing contest at Southern Cross Group Stadium, but goal-kicking proved the difference as the Raiders landed three goals compared to none for the Sharks.
The win moves Canberra four points clear of the ninth-placed Broncos and to within one point of the Sharks who sit sixth in the NYC.
It took a bit of individual brilliance from Sione Katoa to spark the game into life, with the Sharks winger spectacularly diving over in the right corner to open the scoring after 10 minutes.
Ill-discipline hurt the hosts in the first half and it came as no surprise that a penalty led to Canberra's first points with back-rower Jack Williams finishing off some frenzied passing next to the posts.
The Raiders were in again after 25 minutes when fullback Thomas Cronan showed plenty of speed to get to the outside of his man before fighting through the defence to make it 12-4.
That's how the scores remained until two minutes into the second stanza when Sharks bench forward Jayden Walker bumped his way out of two would-be tacklers close to the line to close the gap to four points.
Spurred on by a steadily building crowd, the Sharks then drew level after an hour when Walker raced through to ground a grubber, but were denied the lead when Rhys Davies's attempted conversion cannoned into the uprights.
A ruck infringement shortly after gifted the Green Machine a shot at goal from in front of the posts, and Zac Woolford made no mistake with his attempt to push his side ahead by two.
They quickly extended their lead through a flying Sebastian Kris who reacted quickest to a loose ball to dive over from close range, but just like Davies, Woolford's conversion crashed into the upright.
It mattered little in the end as the Raiders held on to all but secure their spot in the Holden Cup finals.
Raiders 18 (Jack Williams, Thomas Cronan, Sebastian Kris tries; Zac Woolford 3 goals) defeated Sharks 12 (Jayden Walker 2, Sione Katoa, tries) defeated at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Half-time: 12-4 Raiders.