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Raiders beat Warriors 20-16 in NRL escape

Star playmaker Terry Campese has made a successful comeback to inspire Canberra to another NRL Houdini act.
Raiders beat Warriors 20-16 in NRL escape
by AAP

By David Barbeler

CANBERRA, April 13 AAP - Star playmaker Terry Campese has made a successful comeback to inspire Canberra to another NRL Houdini act.

Returning from a year on the sidelines following knee surgery, Campese's pinpoint cross-field kick for flying winger Edrick Lee earned the Raiders a last-gasp 20-16 win over the Warriors on Saturday at Canberra Stadium.

Campese's heroics softened the Raiders' blow of losing co-captain David Shillington in the seventh minute with reported rib damage that has the classy front-rower in doubt for next week's Anzac Test.

Shillington went straight off the field and up the tunnel and the home side severely missed his go-forward for the rest of the night.

It was a big setback for Shillington, who said the possibility of playing in next week's Test against New Zealand in front of the Canberra faithful would be a career highlight for him.

Campese's long-awaited comeback came in the 30th minute.

While his return off the bench was initially subdued, he showed signs of his former best when he busted through the Warriors defence in the 57th minute and came within a metre of scoring a brilliant solo effort.

The Raiders opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Sandor Earl placed down a Sam Williams cross-field kick centimetres inside the field of play.

But the Warriors hit back immediately, Manu Vatuvei comfortably scoring twice down the left wing to give his side their six-point lead going into the break.

After another Warriors try to Ben Henry after halftime, Lee put his side back into the match when he beat four Warriors players to score in the corner.

A Williams try in the 61st minute for the Raiders and then Campese and Lee's match-winning play in the 76th minute completed the Raiders' second comeback victory in as many weeks.

Last Sunday, they rallied from 16-0 against the Sydney Roosters to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Meanwhile, a second Maroons player, the Warriors' Dane Nielsen, also left the field for the night with a rib injury.

Raiders centre Jack Wighton was put on report for the hit on Nielsen for making contact with the head.

Campese played down his role in the last-gasp match-winning play, saying he felt he mis-hit his cross-field kick.

"I'm swearing at myself and then, the next minute, I see Eddy catch it and put it down," Campese said.

"Today, my kicks never went where I wanted them to go but luckily Eddy ran 50m off his wing to score under the posts.

"It's a massive weight off the shoulders, it's been a big two years and the support I've had is outstanding."

Campese said the scariest part of his return was sitting on the bench and watching a few of his teammates, including Shillington (rib cartilage) and Sandor Earl (ankle), get injured.

"Just seeing a few of the boys drop and thinking, 'Oh here we go again', but everyone dug in there," he said.

"It was great to see - it was a great team effort."

Warriors coach Matthew Elliot praised his side's defensive effort despite their second-half handling errors.

"Campo was outstanding ... I thought Campo's poise ended up being the difference," Elliot said.

"Because I felt pretty confident about our defence, they didn't look like penetrating.

"When a team (Raiders) has that amount of quality and that amount of ball, and basically had to break us down with kicks, it's pretty impressive."


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