Leilua helps Raiders beat Warriors
A dominant second half has helped the Canberra Raiders power home to defeat the Warriors 20-8 on Saturday night at GIO Stadium.
Trailing 8-6 at half-time, the Raiders scored 14 unanswered points in the second period to clock up their third-consecutive Telstra Premiership victory, with Joseph Leilua scoring crucial four-pointers 20 minutes each side of half-time.
A Shaun Johnson penalty was all that separated the teams at the end of the first 40 minutes, with some staunch goal-line defence from the Raiders cancelling out the Warriors' advantage in the possession battle.
Ryan Hoffman had opened the scoring after he jumped up over Jack Wighton to claim a Kieran Foran bomb on five minutes, with Johnson's ensuing conversion giving the visitors a 6-0 lead.
After surviving four-consecutive sets camped against their own line, the Raiders squared things up on 20 minutes after Leilua broke attempted tackles from Ken Maumalo and Solomone Kata to go over out wide, with captain Jarrod Croker adding the extras.
It took just three minutes for the Warriors to reassume the lead though, after Blake Austin's fumble from the restart of play led to a penalty in front of the sticks which Johnson converted to take an 8-6 lead.
The Warriors then blew a pair of chances to extend their lead in the final three minutes of the half, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck denied a try by a miraculous tackle from Croker over the line, before the NRL Bunker found a knock on the in the lead up to Kata going over a minute later.
Errors from the Warriors on their first two sets of the second half gave Canberra the early advantage, but after failing to find a way through they settled for a penalty which tied scores on 50 minutes.
On the hour mark Maumalo dropped a towering bomb, with Canberra taking full advantage to score down the right via Leilua once again to go four in front.
Another Warriors error coming out of yardage gifted the Raiders the chance to deliver the killer blow, with Josh Hodgson burrowing over from dummy-half for a converted try which made it 18-8.
Another penalty from Croker with seven minutes to go stretched the lead out to the final margin of 20-8.
Canberra Raiders 20 (Joseph Leilua 2, Josh Hodgson tries; Jarrod Croker 4 goals) def. New Zealand Warriors 8 (Ryan Hoffman try; Shaun Johnson 2 goals) at GIO Stadium. Half-time: 6-8. Crowd: 13,996