The Cronulla Sharks came back from 20-10 down this afternoon, recording their third win on the trot in a dazzling battle against the Raiders at Canberra Stadium.
The role of the one-off pink ball will be a major moot point in the aftermath of round 14. A number of peculiar incidents in this match could only be attributed to the new Steeden. Kick-offs flew out on the full, drop-outs went 80 metres, conversions were missed from in front of the posts.
It only took five minutes for the Raiders to get on the board. Origin five-eighth Terry Campese dummied and shimmied through two Sharks defenders and gave the ball to Tom Learoyd-Lahrs who dotted down.
The Raiders' lead was extended in the 21st minute when Joel Monaghan flew high to claim a bomb, a play that will surely bring him to the attention of the NSW selectors. Two minutes later though, the Sharks opened their account through a nice try from Nathan Stapleton who proved troublesome for the Raiders defence all afternoon.
Gaping holes in the Sharks line gifted Bronson Harrison a try to put the Raiders back in front at halftime, 14-10.
Jarrod Croker scored the try of the match shortly after the break, David Milne made the break, stepping and putting on good pace through the gap. He got it away to Campese and Campese threw an impressive one-handed pass out to Milne.
Going into the last quarter the score sat at 20-20 after two Sharks tries in quick succession, the second of which came from an adventitious bounce off a Scott Porter chip-kick.
Campese edged his team back in front with a 69th minute penalty goal. Two minutes before full-time though, Corey Hughes threw a short pass back inside to Paul Gallen who dove over to take the lead and indeed the victory.
Gallen was impressive in his comeback, clearly not at 100% but nonetheless topping the tackle count as well as scoring two tries. Trent Barrett led well, making important kicks to get his side in good position.
Next week the Raiders take on the Sea Eagles at Brookvale while the Sharks will look to extend their winning streak, hosting the Broncos on Monday Night.
Match Details Canberra Raiders 22 vs Cronulla Sharks 24 Round 14 - Sunday :: June 14th, 2009 2:00pm Venue: Canberra Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne & Gerard Sutton Touch Judges: Mohamad Fajajo & Peter Kirby Video Referee: Paul Simpkins Crowd: 10,104 Half time: Raiders 14-10
Canberra Raiders 22 Tries: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Joel Monaghan, Bronson Harrison, Jarrod Croker Goals: Terry Campese (3/5) Cronulla Sharks 24 Tries: Nathan Stapleton, Paul Gallen (2), Matthew Wright, Ben Pomeroy Goals: Luke Covell (2/5)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Talk about the game as it happens - Raiders v Sharks forum discussion - click here!
RAIDERS: 1. David Milne 18. Justin Carney 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joel Monaghan 5. Phil Graham 6. Terry Campese 7. Marc Herbert 8. Dane Tilse 14. Trevor Thurling 10. Scott Logan 11. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs 12. Bronson Harrison 13. Alan Tongue (c) Interchange: 9. Glen Buttriss 15. Nigel Plum 16. Josh Miller 17. Troy Thompson SHARKS: 1. Nathan Stapleton 2. Blake Ferguson 3. Matthew Wright 4. Reece Williams 5. Luke Covell 6. Trent Barrett 7. Scott Porter 8. Kade Snowden 23. Corey Hughes 10. Luke Douglas 11. Atelea Vea 12. Anthony Tupou 13. Paul Gallen Interchange: 14. Johnny Mannah 16. Mitch Brown 17. Terence Seu Seu 21. Ben Pomeroy
League Unlimited Poll: Raiders 55% Sharks 45%
TAB Sportsbet Odds: Raiders $1.30 Sharks $3.50
Last Meeting: Raiders 24 Sharks 14 (2009 Round 5)
For the Raiders Carney comes in to replace Purtell on the wing, Thurling will start at hooker for Buttriss who goes to the bench.
For the Sharks Hughes comes in to the side, replacing Caine at hooker.
Toyota Cup: Raiders 58 Sharks 24
Canberra Weather at 1.38pm: Temperature 13.4