The New Zealand Warriors have recorded the biggest comeback in their history, stunning the Canberra Raiders 34-31.
The New Zealand Warriors have pulled off a huge statement win early in this NRL season, completing the biggest comeback in club history by beating the Canberra Raiders, 34-31.
After a 70m try put the Green Machine ahead 31-10 with half an hour to go, the result seemed a foregone conclusion – but nobody told the visiting Warriors, who powered home against a Raiders side that lost three players to injury in the opening 12 minutes of the contest.
Centre Adam Pompey put the Warriors ahead with two minutes to go, but the drama was only just getting started.
Canberra regained the short kick-off and on what was the last play of the game looked to have stolen back the lead, only for Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to fly across and knock the ball loose as Jordan Rapana dived for the tryline.
“Last week we spoke about we lost that game in moments, and this time we’ve won a game in a few moments and that’s going to play a big part, just wanting it more than your opposition,” Tuivasa-Sheck said after the game.
Addin Fonua-Blake opened the scoring before the Raiders stacked on 25 unanswered points going into the sheds – knowing early points were vital after injuries to three forwards.
Joseph Tapine suffered a leg injury before a collision between Ryan James and makeshift second-rower Sebastian Kris saw both ruled out for the rest of the contest.
“We went into the locker room just real passionate and real disappointed in our first half, so we had to have big plan in the second half and the boys showed their guts out,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.
“All we talked about was they had no bench players, we thought it was just going to come for us.
“We spoke about earning it again, and you’ve got to go out and there and you’ve got to want it, don’t just wait for it to come to you.”
It wasn’t just the Raiders off the field that were hurt either, centre Curtis Scott carrying an obvious injury in the final few minutes and being targeted for the last two tries.
“We got a tip that he was playing a bit busted,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.
It’s a huge win for the Warriors, whose previous biggest-ever comeback was 20 points against Newcastle in 2005.
They’ll fancy their chances on Easter Sunday against a Roosters team that added three more players to an already-extensive injury toll during last night’s loss to arch-rivals South Sydney.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!