Kiwis winger Jordan Rapana scores a cracker to push Raiders past Eels
A ripping try from Kiwis winger Jordan Rapana close to fulltime has given the Canberra Raiders a scrappy 22-16 NRL win over the Parramatta Eels to end a worrying three-game slide.
Scores were locked at 16-16 on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, before Rapana produced one of his trademark diving efforts in a 73rd-minute right-side shift.
The match-winning play ensured Raiders captain Jarrod Croker celebrated his 200th-game milestone with a win, while also ruining Mitchell Moses' first appearance as an Eel.
Moses had a mixed night after his mid-week move from the Wests Tigers, missing a game-high six tackles in a torrid night as he was targeted by Josh Papalii.
Papalii was arguably the Raiders' best on his return from a club-imposed one-game ban for drink-driving, running 148 metres, busting five tackles and offloading three times.
The defeat for a clunky Eels outfit was compounded by injuries to Nathan Brown (ribs) and Michael Jennings (leg), who failed to finish the match.
After heading into halftime at 10-10, the Eels took the lead for the first time with Siosaia Vave's 48th-minute try from close range, although the Raiders responded quickly through Blake Austin.
From there, the match seemed destined for golden point before Rapana's aerial heroics, breathing life into a season that looked on shaky ground after a slow start.
In a mostly docile first half, the Raiders appeared set to stroll away with an easy win when Nick Cotric and Joey Leilua crossed from set pieces for a 10-0 lead by the 20th minute.
But back-to-back tries to Manu Ma'u and Jennings in the space of five minutes meant the game was tied at the break.
Ma'u claimed a lucky ricochet off his own grubber to score his team's first points of the night, before Jennings finished off a tackle-busting run by Semi Radradra for their second.