The Canberra Raiders have gone back into the top eight following a thrilling 12-10 win over the Parramatta Eels in the Gold Coast.
Tonight’s game started in a bizarre fashion with neither team able to score any points during the first half, in what was the NRL’s first scoreless opening half since Round One of the 2019 season.
After a dour first half, Canberra notched back-to-back tries before the Eels stormed back late and only to be denied in controversial fashion.
Eels winger Maika Sivo crossed over in the 75th minute to cut the deficit to two points before nearly producing the match-winner with less than 10 seconds remaining.
The NRL bunker was forced to step in and determine whether any foul play or a shoulder charge occurred as Jordan Rapana charged towards Sivo in the corner and stopped him from grounding the ball.
Following a lengthy review, the bunker ultimately deemed the contact by Rapana to be fair in what legendary Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater dubbed as a “controversial moment”.
“It’s a hip charge. Both players are at full speed going to the same blade of grass,” Billy Slater told Nine.
“The only thing is, there’s no wrapping of the arm which is deemed not a tackle. I’m OK with that, there’s no head contact.
“It’s a controversial moment this one, but the fact he never used his arms or attempted to use his arms.”
Storm great Cameron Smith added: “There was no leading with the knee or the leg, or the boot.”
“He’s in full stride there and makes contact with his hip.”
Tonight’s result could have looked much different had Eels fullback Clint Gutherson converted on Sivo’s 75th-minute try from the sideline, which potentially could’ve forced a Golden Point ending.
Heading into tonight’s match, the Raiders were dealt a cruel blow when it was revealed earlier in the week star playmaker Jack Wighton and young star Xavier Savage would be unavailable.
As it stands, the Eels remain in the fourth spot on the NRL ladder, while the Raiders move into eighth.