Sharks win NRL thriller 21-20 over Raiders

A golden-point field goal has lifted Cronulla to a 21-20 victory over Canberra in a tense NRL clash at GIO Stadium.

Valentine Holmes nailed the kick to seal the win on a cool Saturday afternoon, marking his side’s fifth win in six matches.

The game was sent into extra-time after the score was levelled 20-20 following a controversial no-try ruling against the Sharks.

Andrew Fifita appeared to plant the ball with 45 seconds of regular time left on the clock, but was denied by the video referee.

Instead, a penalty was awarded in front of goal – which Michael Gordon duly converted.

Only moments earlier, the Raiders had taken the lead 20-18 via a controversial penalty kick of their own after on-field official Ashley Klein penalised the Sharks for stripping the ball.

It was the only time the home side had led the match.

The Raiders had been favourites to win, but have now dropped three of their last four.

Coach Ricky Stuart took a gamble with a last-minute line-up reshuffle, replacing the injured Sam Williams with fullback Jack Wighton.

Sisa Waqa took his place as the Raiders’ custodian, while Joseph Leilua started his first home match in the nation’s capital at centre.

Cronulla had their own late change, with Ben Barba scratched due to a knee injury.

It appeared to have little impact, though, as the Sharks drew first blood of the afternoon.

Luke Lewis set up Holmes on the right-hand side for a cruisy four-pointer in the eighth minute.

Their second came on the opposite edge, Ricky Leutele catching the Raiders short and crossing over for a celebratory try in his 50th NRL match for a 12-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes.

Canberra, normally difficult to contain in the opposition 20, struggled to piece together any meaningful play in attack.

But they somewhat redeemed themselves in the 23rd minute, capitalising on a Cronulla mistake with a try via Edrick Lee to end the half 12-4.

The Raiders came out firing after the break, with Josh Papalii rampaging over for his third try in two games.

An Andrew Fifita four-pointer appeared to end any hope of a fightback, only for Lee to bring up a double as the Raiders reduced the deficit to two points.

Skipper Jarrod Croker levelled it up with a penalty with less than 10 minutes left an then added a second as the Raiders snatched what looked like a match-winning lead.

To add to the Raiders’ woes, prop Shannon Boyd was put on report for a suspected crusher tackle on Sharks enforcer Luke Lewis.

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