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On a night when he equalled the try-scoring record for the club, Jarrod Croker was the hero for the Canberra Raiders in the dying seconds of his side's tense clash with the Cronulla Sharks.

They had just a two-point lead up their sleeves as the Sharks moved the ball to their right edge in the hope of finding the space needed for what would have been a stunning comeback victory.

But Croker had eyes only for the ball and reached up and intercepted a pass to seal a 22-20 win for the Raiders in a physical and intense clash in front of 10,021 fans at GIO Stadium.

Canberra shot out early in the match to have a comfortable 20-0 lead after just 25 minutes, but the Sharks capitalised on scoring chances either side of half-time to reel the home team back in.

By the 53rd minute they were well and truly back in it when Josh Dugan bagged his second try for the game and the scores were levelled at 20 apiece.

A penalty goal by Croker in the 62nd minute proved the difference.

Cotric assisted from field after ankle injury

Croker got his team on the board at the start of the game in the same fashion. The Raiders had the perfect star with a spilt bomb by Matt Moylan and subsequent penalty for a strip.

Cronulla looked nervous early as Moylan failed to clean up another kick cleanly before Dugan lost the ball in the following tackle then Andrew Fifita was placed on report for a lifting tackle in the ninth minute.

Simonsson's freakish effort extends Canberra's lead

Canberra finally found a way through when Aidan Sezer cracked the line to take it to an 8-0 lead inside 10 minutes. They extended that to 14 just before the 20-minute mark when Bailey Simonsson dived for an incredible touchdown in the corner by the most meagre of margins.

Croker then created history when he scored untouched to equal the all-time tries scored for the club. The Canberra captain's effort had him draw level with Jason Croker on the club's record holders with 120 NRL tries.

The Raiders’ looked like they'd run away with it, until two tries to the Sharks' Joshes – Dugan the first, Morris the second – in the space of six minutes meant it was just a two converted try lead at the break.

Cronulla didn't take long to reel that in after half-time. They scored through Braden Hamlin-Uele and Dugan again to have the game tied up; the discipline and handling woes shifted to the home team.

It was an arm wrestle to the end, neither team able to get full control, but not find a way across the tryline either, Croker's boot proving the deciding factor.

The injury curse continued for the Raiders when Nick Cotric limped from the field after suffering a lower leg injury in a tackle with 13 minutes left in the game forcing the Raiders to reshuffle their backline. Cronulla lost Bronson Xerri to an HIA.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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