Warriors lose, Raiders win home playoff
Sun, 02 Sep 2012 6:42p.m.
Canberra will wipe the slate clean after storming to a 42-22 come-from-behind victory over the hapless Warriors and snatching home advantage in the first week of the NRL play-offs.
The Raiders' victory in Auckland today, when they turned around a 22-6 half-time deficit to rack up 36 second-half points, means they will host Cronulla in an elimination final next weekend.
Having languished near the foot of the table earlier in the season, Canberra have now strung together five wins in a row for huge momentum heading into the post-season.
But for coach David Furner, that's all history.
"Semi-finals are different altogether," he said.
"The 26-week comp has gone. We're in a position which we've probably been in for the last five, six, seven weeks where it's sudden death."
Furner said what the Raiders would definitely need to do against the Sharks was start better than they did against the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium.
But he was encouraged by the way his players responded after halftime, their ability to keep the Warriors scoreless giving him particular pleasure.
They were without two key players in fullback Josh Dugan and halfback Sam Williams with ankle and shoulder problems respectively, and Furner was unsure at this stage about their availability for next weekend.
Canberra and Cronulla split their two previous meetings this year, the away side prevailing both times.
Against the Warriors, the Raiders took full advantage of the strong breeze to score six second-half tries, with Blake Ferguson and Reece Robinson each getting a double.
Their comeback began when lock Shaun Fensom busted up the middle and powered over.
Robinson, moved from wing to fullback for Dugan, edged the visitors closer when he sliced through a gap to score.
When winger Sandor Earl reined in a Shaun Berrigan kick to set Ferguson for his first try, and Jarrod Crocker landed the ensuing conversion, the visitors hit the lead for the first time.
Ferguson, Robinson and second rower Josh Papalii added further tries to leave the Warriors routed.
The defeat was a club record eighth in a row for the Warriors, who made a habit this season of giving up big leads.
Winger Manu Vatuvei opened the scoring in the eighth minute courtesy of a bust by impressive prop Ben Matulino.
Canberra replied when Berrigan, in for Williams, latched on to a Josh McCrone kick-ahead to dot down.
From there, the home side pulled away, with Matulino, Vatuvei and Godinet all touching down, but their 16-point halftime lead proved to be way short of enough.
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3/09/2012 1:40:44 p.m.
I thought to myself.... 22 - 6 halftime Warriors had it!!! YAY! Didnt want to watch the rest as the story goes! We all had a relaxing Fathers Day dinner at my dads and we just didnt want to watch it as we were devluging into our beautiful haangi! Low and Behold we thought 5 mins left lets have another look and enjoy our meal at the same time! THATS RIGHT WE THOUGHT U GOTTA BE KIDDING ME! WHOEVERS GOT THE WARRIORS NEXT YEAR U BEST B SITTING DOWN AND HAVING A RETHINK ON YOUR OVERATED PLAYERS!!!
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