Shaun Johnson snatched a 21-20 extra-time win for the Warriors over the Raiders with an 82nd minute field goal at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday.
For the second time since his return to the Warriors this season, Johnson calmly stepped up to secure victory for his team after a late penalty goal by Reece Walsh sent the game to golden point.
It was a heart-breaking defeat for the Raiders, who were the better team for most of the match but have now lost their last five games in succession.
The Raiders led 20-12 at half-time but did not score a point in the second term.
Canberra captain Jack Wighton (dangerous throw) and Kiwis Test forward Joey Tapine (facial) face an anxious wait to learn whether they are charged by the match review committee after both were placed on report.
For the Warriors, it was a stunning turn-around after their 70-10 ANZAC Day drubbing by the Storm in Melbourne just five days earlier.
Daejarn Asi had a debut to remember for the Warriors after joining the club mid-week as a replacement for Ash Taylor, who is set to announce his retirement due to a hip injury.
Despite only having one training session with his new team-mates, the former Cowboys playmaker had a significant impact on the result and laid on tries for Viliami Vailea and Euan Aitken.
- Canberra centre Matt Timoko opened the scoring in just the sixth minute after halves Brad Schneider and Jack Wighton combined to create space on their left edge.
- Errors and penalties proved costly for the Warriors in the early exchanges, and an eighth minute penalty goal by Schneider put the Raiders ahead 8-0.
- Adam Elliott, who started the match at dummy half for Canberra, had the chance to put his side further ahead but was unable to hold a pass from Joey Tapine as he crossed the tryline.
- A loose pass from Raiders fullback Jordan Rapana to centre Nick Cotric after fielding a Shaun Johnson kick on his own line gave the Warriors their best attacking opportunity and Euan Aitken put Adam Pompey over in the 25th minute.
Pompey hits back for the Warriors
- The Raiders hit back almost immediately, with Schneider performing a run-around move with Elliott before linking with Wighton, who put Hudson Young through a gap to score in the 28th minute.
- A kick by new Warriors recruit Daejarn Asi caught Raiders fullback Jordan Rapana out of position and teenage centre Viliami Vailea raced through to claim his first NRL try in the 32nd minute.
- Again, the Green Machine posted a quick reply, with Wighton stepping out of an attempted tackle by Rocco Berry and pushing his way through three others defenders to give his team a 20-12 halftime lead.
Vintage Jack Wighton
- Tensions boiled over midway through the second half when Tongan forward Ben Murdoch-Masila reacted to facial treatment by Tapine in his first carry with the ball after being thrust into action in the 58th minute.
- Warriors hooker Wayde Egan could be heard through the referee’s microphone telling referee Chris Butler: “Joe Tapine eye gouge, Joe Tapine eye gouge”.
- Wighton reacted by saying to Butler: “Sir, see the elbow [by Murdoch-Masila]”.
- Butler firstly called out Murdoch-Masila and said: “Ben, you are getting the penalty. Don’t take that out of my hands because if that escalates you could be sitting down”.
- Tapine was then placed on report, with Butler telling him: “In our opinion, what started that was a hand in the face, which escalates that … the facial”.
Tapine and Murdoch-Masila face off
- The Warriors scored the first try of the second half when Asi put Aitken over in the 64th minute to give the New Zealand-based team hope of a comeback.
Aitken and Asi thread the needle
- Halfback Shaun Johnson had a try disallowed just three minutes later due to an obstruction by Murdoch-Masila on Tom Starling.
- Walsh levelled the scores with a 79th minute penalty goal after Corey Horsburgh was placed on report for a high shot on Matt Lodge in front of the posts to send the game to golden point.
- Johnson then won the match for the Warriors when he wrong footed Horsburgh before calmly landing an 82nd minute field goal.
SJ seals it again in golden point
Play of the game
Christchurch-born Daejarn Asi only joined the club he grew up supporting during the week but the former Cowboys playmaker had an immediate impact, laying on two tries, including one that got the Warriors into the game midway through the first half. Spotting that Raiders fullback Jordan Rapana was up in the line, Asi kicked behind him and centre Viliami Vailea raced through to score.
Vailea scores his first NRL try
What they said
“The second half of last week obviously wasn’t a great night for anyone who has got anything to do with the Warriors. We didn’t play so great today but in the second half we showed a bit of fight and resilience. We didn’t allow them to score in the second half It wasn’t a great game of footy and you have got to feel for the other mob, they have gone through a period of losses. It is a tough game sometimes. Shaun hasn’t been one of our standout players in the games we have won but in two of them that we won he got the part right that we couldn’t get right last year. We had five goes for fives misses last year to win games with field goals and he is two from two for us this year”: – Warriors coach Nathan Brown.
Warriors: Round 8
“That whole second half was undisciplined, lacked any quality execution, it was very disappointing. I am glad they were as bad as us. Publicly, I am lost for comment in regards to the quality of that performance in the second half. For any loyal fan, any real fans that we have got left I feel really embarrassed and sorry for them. I can put my finger on it, but from a public point of view it is not something I need to discuss here at a press conference”: – Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.
Raiders: Round 8
The Warriors travel to Cronulla to take on the Sharks next Sunday, while the Raiders host the Bulldogs in Canberra on Friday night.
Warriors coach Nathan Brown is expected to rush Kodi Nikorima (COVID), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (head knock) and Aaron Pene (suspension) back into the team for the trip to PointsBet Stadium.
However, Warriors centre Jesse Arthars is in doubt after being ruled out at halftime in the match against Canberra with a shoulder injury, while prop Matt Lodge was placed on report for raising his forearm in a tackle by Corey Harawira-Naera.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart will be hoping captain Elliott Whitehead is cleared to return after missing the clash with the Warriors due to a facial injury sustained in a training collision two weeks ago.