Canberra have overcome a couple of dubious video refereeing decisions to defeat Penrith 34-24 in a 10-try NRL thriller at Pepper Stadium.
Winger Edrick Lee sealed the victory with four minutes remaining when he intercepted a Peter Wallace kick, catching the ball and running about 75 metres to keep the Raiders’ season alive and resign the Panthers to a third straight loss.
The victory was soured by star back-rower Josh Papalii being placed on report for a shoulder charge on Nigel Plum, who was forced off the field with a concussion early in the second half.
Replays appear to show first contact was a head clash before Papalli’s shoulder.
Plum walked off the field with the assistance of a couple of trainers after refusing to leave the field on a stretcher.
In the end, it was a fair result for the Raiders, who looked to be on the end of a couple of poor video refereeing calls in the first half which resulted in tries to Elijah Taylor and Isaah Yeo.
But replays suggested there were knock-ons in the lead-up to both tries.
The sides went toe-to-toe all afternoon with an exciting first half seeing six tries and the scores locked at 18-all.
Prop Paul Vaughan and winger Jordan Rapana both scored doubles for the Raiders, who got home on the back of outstanding performances from hooker Josh Hodgson and five-eighth Blake Austin.
Vaughan’s second try in the 56th minute came shortly after Plum was taken off and saw the Raiders lead the game for the first time in the match.
Penrith squandered several outstanding opportunites in the dying stages before Lee’s brilliant solo effort broke the hearts of Penrith fans and seemingly ended their hopes of making the finals.