Melbourne Storm spoils Canberra Raiders’ party
ALMOST exactly a year ago the Raiders pulled off a fairytale final-minute victory over the Storm at GIO Stadium, with front-rower Paul Vaughan the hero of the moment.
Everything was set up for yet another fairytale for the men from the capital at the same venue against the same opponents, with it being fellow prop Dane Tilse's 200th game in green, and his final outing in Canberra.
But the Raiders came desperately close, losing 14-10 in a thriller, and losing hooker Josh Hodgson and Shaun Fensom to injury to add to the heartbreak.
Lock Fensom - a key pillar in Canberra's defensive line once again with 35 tackles - appeared to have suffered a serious ankle injury.
The Raiders led 10-2 at half-time but were motored down in the second stanza for the second time this season, two tries in the final 40 minutes getting the Storm home.
Both tries were outstanding, Mahe Fonua scoring his team's first after 48 minutes, courtesy of a beautiful flick pass from centre Will Chambers on the right flank.
And just four minutes later, captain Cameron Smith put Blake Green through a hole for a big run up-field, before a Ryan Hinchcliffe cross-field kick on the next play led to a Cameron Munster try.
Munster, impressive in just his second NRL game, was assisted by a great take and offload from the kick by Fonua.
Melbourne-raised star Fonua then offloaded to Chambers, who found the 20-year-old Rockhampton product on the inside.