Raiders finally prevail in tight NRL clash

Matt Coughlan

Golden point has haunted Canberra's NRL season but they exorcised some tight-tussle demons by sinking St George Illawarra in extra time.

Before Friday night's victory, the Raiders had lost three matches in golden point this season and six matches by a converted try or less.

When the final siren went with the scores locked at 14-14, coach Ricky Stuart could be forgiven for wondering whether deja vu might strike a near-fatal blow to his side's fading finals hopes.

"Absolutely you get nervous," Stuart said.

"If you get in three or four types of those scenarios and you're winning them, you're finding a bit of rhythm, you've got a bit of belief and you've got some confidence.

"Our poor buggers have been losing those games."

Stuart said fortune had finally smiled on the Raiders.

"Whether you like it or not, in all types of sport luck's a really massive part of your game," he said.

It took under-pressure half Aidan Sezer's game-breaking 40-20 kick to spur the Raiders to victory in extra time.

Inside their own 20-metre zone, the ball came to giant prop Dave Taylor who set up Elliott Whitehead to cross for the match-winning try.

Sezer's performance will silence some of the critics who have savaged him and halves partner Blake Austin as two of the key causes of the Raiders' decline this year.

"When you're down on confidence and you're lacking a little bit of belief, to be able to take the ball on your 40 and punch it like that is a great sign for him that he's bouncing back through a tough bit of adversity," Stuart said.

The win was soured by injuries to forwards Shannon Boyd (knee) and Luke Bateman (cheekbone), with both facing a race against time to be fit to face Melbourne at GIO Stadium next Saturday night.

Josh Papalii is long odds to play in that match after his shoulder charge on Josh Dugan ended the former Raider's night.

While the Green Machine jumped to 10th on the back of their first win since May, they remain two games outside the eight.

Their tough run home includes a return fixture against Melbourne, Cronulla away and a trip to New Zealand to face the Warriors.