A golden point try to Josh Hodgson has given Canberra a thrilling 28-24 win over Parramatta on Sunday afternoon in the NRL’s final round.
The Eels looked headed for victory when halfback Luke Kelly slotted over a penalty from close range to give his side 24-18 with just two minutes remaining.
However an Edrick Lee try on the final play of the 80 minutes allowed Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker to send the game into overtime with a sideline conversion after the siren.
The Eels had first chance at field goal in the extra period but failed to get one away, before a Semi Radradra turnover gave the Raiders good field position to set up what looked to be a one-pointer for Croker.
However Hodgson dummied and scurried over untouched to ensure the Raiders finish the season on a positive note.
The Raiders’ win spoiled Semi Radradra breaking Steve Ella’s Parramatta record of 23 tries in a single season, with the winger bagging two dubious tries either side of halftime to notch up 24 four-pointers for the year.
First the Fijian talent looked to have fumbled his touchdown after steaming through on a 37th minute inside ball from Corey Norman to equal Ella’s mark, before there were similar doubts on the record-breaking try just after halftime.
With the game locked at 6-all at the break, Radradra’s second try on a simple left-side sweep gave his side the lead and brought the vocal Pirtek Stadium crowd of 10,515 to its feet.
The Raiders regained the lead through back-to-back tries to skipper Jarrod Croker in the space of seven minutes. The Canberra centre first crashed over from close range in the 54th, then he followed through a Sam Williams kick in the 61st.
However the Eels then hit back with consecutive tries of their own.
First prop Junior Paulo barged over in the 69th minute and then, in the next set after Raiders fullback Sisa Waqa was sin-binned for a professional foul, Daniel Alvaro also dove over under the sticks.
Canberra’s Brenko Lee opened the scoring in just the 3rd minute, strolling through some embarrassing Eels defence from dummy half. Their lead should’ve doubled three minutes later, however Croker was unable to cleanly touch down a Sam Williams kick in the in-goal.
Twice more the Raiders skipper spurned opportunities to further their advantage, first duffing a penalty shot in the 15th, and then being run down by Reece Robinson on an intercept with 20 metres to the tryline.
Having failed to find Radradra a number of times in the opening half hour, the Eels finally got their weapon over the line on a set play in the 37th minute to draw level at the break.