CANBERRA have snapped a three-game losing streak to edge out Parramatta 22-16 in a thriller at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Flyer Jordan Rapana crossed with just seven minutes remaining to get the Raiders back in front, but it was a frantic final few moments with the Eels refusing to give up.
Somehow, the green wall held strong.
The close loss for the Eels was compounded with in-form lock Nathan Brown suffering a rib injury midway through the first half, while centre Michael Jennings was forced from the field late in the game with an upper leg injury.
The Raiders had a host of possession early on off the back of penalties, and they took full advantage with young winger Nick Cotric spinning out of a tackle to dive over in the corner.
MATCH CENTRE: Eels v Raiders
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They were back at it again in the 19th minute when Josh Hodgson darted out of dummy half and threw a short cut-out ball for Joey Leilua to burst over the tryline.
But in the final minutes of the half momentum swung big time into the Eels’ favour when Manu Ma’u kicked a ball down the short side. It bounced off Jordan Rapana and into the arms of the back-rower, who finished off what he’d started.
Just five minutes later, Semi Radradra produced something out of nothing when he danced around five defenders in the right corner and set up Michael Jennings again, making it 10-all at the break.
The away side shot themselves in the footy early in the second half when they conceded costly penalties and errors to pile on the pressure.
Their defence caved in the 47th minute when a no-look short ball from Kaysa Pritchard found Sosaia Vave, who proved too strong close to the line.
But the Green Machine refused to back down.
In the 56th minute, milestone man Jarrod Croker — in his 200th NRL game — broke through the defence and lobbed a Hail Mary pass for Austin to lock the scores up once again.
The Raiders thought they’d regained the lead in the 68th minute when Rapana was the beneficiary of some entertaining adlib play, but Hodgson was ruled to be offside in chasing a bomb.
Rapana soon had his meat pie, however, when a lovely right side play resulted in the Kiwi flyer diving over in the corner for the matchwinning try.