NRL 2021: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck heroics, Canberra Raiders injuries, NZ Warriors score win at GIO Stadium
Last-ditch heroics by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck helped earn the Warriors a slim 34-31 win over an injury-ravaged Raiders at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
The home side fought bravely – down to just 14 men for 65 minutes of the game.
And they still found some energy to try to steal the victory when Jordan Rapana was stretching out for the corner with only seconds left on the clock. Tuivasa-Sheck's reach was that little bit longer, knocking the ball from the winger's grasp.
Three minutes earlier and Warriors centre Adam Pompey had put the Warriors in front with their fifth second-half try to claw back the Raiders' 25-6 halftime lead.
Canberra played much of the game with only one healthy interchange player after Joe Tapine (ankle), Ryan James (HIA) and Sebastian Kris (HIA) were ruled out of the game.
Up by 19 at the break the Raiders looked a strong chance of pulling off a miracle.
However, a controversial last-pass call before Ben Murdoch-Masila scored in the 59th minute and Tuivasa-Sheck's last second heroics saved the game for the Warriors.
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Addin Fonua-Blake capped his 100th NRL game with a surging run through the Raiders' middle giving the visitors an early 6-0 lead.
Tapine was helped from the ground after just 10 minutes suffering ankle ligament damage.
Canberra’s bench depth was tested dramatically with Kris and James' departures.
Against the run of play the Raiders managed to cross the line with Jack Wighton showing his strength close to the line to breath some life back into the Raiders campaign.
An inside ball from Josh Hodgson found Ryan Sutton, who made the most of his late-call up to crash over next to the posts to make it 12-6 after 22 minutes.
Canberra extended its lead to 18-2 when Sia Soliola capitalised off the back of another solid run from Sutton.
The Raiders scored two tries in two minutes, after the Warriors kicked their restart out on the full, giving the home side an excellent platform to extend their unlikely lead.
Williams did not need to be asked twice as he reached over to make it 24-6 with only one healthy player left on the interchange bench.
Williams put the full stop on the half from the Raiders with a field-goal to give them a seemingly unlikely 19-point lead at the break given their injury toll.
The Warriors enjoyed the perfect start to the second half with Kodi Nikorima finishing off a fractured play, with a stirring individual run to make it 25-10.
An early shift left to the left for Canberra saw them in open space, with a kick ahead by Jarrod Croker allowing Elliott Whitehead to win the race to the ball for the Raiders fifth try.
A try under the posts to Bayley Sironen narrowed the Raiders lead further before Ben Murdoch-Masila scored reducing it again (31-22).
Tuivasa-Sheck gets the Warriors to within striking distance
Tuivasa-Sheck scored himself as the visitors got to wothin three (31-28) with 11 minutes left.
Pompey capitalised on the tiring Raiders defence to snatch the lead with 90 seconds left.
The visitors were not immune from trouble. Centre Peta Hiku (knee) left with medial ligament damage in the 50th minute and didn’t return.