The Canberra Raiders have survived a testing battle against the Warriors to claim a 26-14 victory and remain in sight of a crucial top-four NRL finish.
- The Raiders still have a chance of finishing in fourth place on the ladder following the win over the Warriors
- The home side scored five tries, including a double to winger Semi Valemei
- The Warriors play Manly next week before finally returning to New Zealand
The Raiders lost halfback George Williams to concussion early at Canberra Stadium, and were down by eight points when star five-eighth Jack Wighton was sent to the sin-bin during the first half.
Strike second rower John Bateman also sustained an elbow injury in the second half.
But the Raiders — led by two-try hero Semi Valemei and veteran Elliott Whitehead — recovered to cement fifth spot on the ladder, two points behind fourth-placed Parramatta with one match left in the regular season.
With a superior points differential, the Raiders can steal a qualifying final berth should they defeat Cronulla and the Eels get upset by the Wests Tigers next weekend.
The Raiders are now all but certain to finish no lower than fifth.
The Warriors, who lost captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to a suspected season-ending hamstring injury in the second half, again showed admirable spirit by taking it to the Raiders early but they could not muster a late push.
They look forward to finally flying home to New Zealand after facing Manly next week.
Warriors centre Peta Hiku and counterpart Jarrod Croker traded tries inside a combative opening 15 minutes.
The visitors threatened to run away with the match when Hiku nabbed his second try in the 28th minute, however a 90-metre Valemei try for the Raiders four minutes later proved a critical turning point.
Hudson Young’s try in the shadows of half-time completed a stunning turnaround and a two-point lead to the Raiders at the break, 16-14.
Whitehead was instrumental in the Raiders posting the first points of the second half when he intercepted a Warriors pass to set up Valemei’s second try.
Nick Cotric, who is headed to Canterbury next season, scored the Raiders’ fifth try to ice the win for the hosts.