Raiders upset blows minor premiership race open
THE Canberra Raiders have thrown the race for the minor premiership wide open after a shock 14-12 win over the Sydney Roosters.
After a season defined by a number of close losses, the Raiders finally held it together with their best and gutsiest defensive performance of the year.
The Roosters defeat means they are now level on Melbourne and South Sydney on 32 competition points with the Storm having a marginally better for and against the take top spot into the final two rounds of the regular season.
The Raiders were actually outscored two tries to one but four penalty goals to Sam Williams got them home for a terrific and well deserved win.
The Raiders led 12-0 at half-time before back-to-back tries to the Roosters through Boyd Cordner and Victor Radley levelled the scores heading into the final 20 minutes.
Williams then levelled with his fourth penalty conversion of the game to put the Raiders back in front with 10 minutes left on the clock.
The Roosters threw everything at them but the Raiders' desperate defence kept aiming up.
For the home team Josh Papalii led the way with an enormous effort but he had no shortage of teammates right behind him.
The Roosters now take on Brisbane at Allianz Stadium this Saturday followed by Parramatta.
Although out of the race for the top eight, the Raiders can still cause some damage.
They take on South Sydney at home on Saturday followed by the Warriors in the final round.
The Warriors loss to the Bulldogs has left a glimmer of hope for the Wests Tigers' finals hopes.
The Raiders' half-time lead came on the back of a Jordan Rapana try and three Williams penalty conversions.
The Roosters were desperately unlucky not to get themselves a try when Ryan Matterson looked to have done enough only to see the last pass to Mitch Aubusson go to ground.
The Raiders were as well disciplined as they have been all season in a near faultless first half performance.
The Roosters finally got on the board when Cordner fooled Williams running off James Tedesco.
And the Roosters then levelled heading into the final quarter when Radley stretched out after the Roosters had knocked back three penalty conversion attempts in quick succession.
But ultimately the competition's best defensive team were beaten at their own game as the Raiders held on in a desperate finish.
CANBERRA 14 (J Rapana try S Williams 5 goals) bt SYDNEY ROOSTERS 12 (B Cordner V Radley tries L Mitchell 2 goals) at GIO Stadium. Referee: Henry Perenara, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski. Crowd: 10,594