Canberra stuns Storm in thriller to sentence Melbourne to week 1 for the first time since 2014

Canberra stuns Storm in thriller to sentence Melbourne to week 1 for the first time since 2014

Canberra stuns Storm in thriller to sentence Melbourne to week 1 for the first time since 2014

Canberra stuns Storm in elimination final thriller to sentence Melbourne to Week 1 departure for the first time in eight years as Raiders’ extraordinary record at AAMI Park continues

  • Canberra defeated Melbourne 28-20 at AAMI Park in Saturday’s Elimination Final
  • Raiders will play in semi-finals against Eels next week, while Storm’s season is over
  • The loss is Melbourne’s first week 1 final in eight years
  • Canberra led 16-8 at halftime, but trailed halfway through the second half

Fearless Canberra has finished Melbourne’s NRL season in a stunning fashion, with a 28-20 win in their elimination final to continue their dominance at AAMI Park.

The Raiders turned down a second half of Storm fighting to oust the perennial final heavyweights and march on to a semifinal showdown against Parramatta at CommBank Stadium next weekend.

Canberra second rower Hudson Young pounced on a Jack Wighton grubber that misled Cameron Munster in the 65th minute, with Jamal Fogarty adding the extras for the visitors to recapture the 22-20 lead.

Canberra stuns Storm in thriller to sentence Melbourne to week 1 for the first time since 2014

Canberra upset Melbourne 28-20 in their elimination final at AAMI Park on Saturday

And then an opportunistic effort by winger Jordan Rapana, when the ball bounced off Sebastian Kris’ head, ensured the upset victory for the eighth Raiders over fifth-seeded Melbourne.

The Storm trailed 16-8 at halftime, looking down and out, but winger Xavier Coates took his third try of the evening and then the giant prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona crashed into the 56th minute to give the home side a 20-minute lead. 16 to take the lead.

But the brave Raiders refused to leave.

Winners on their last four visits to Melbourne, Canberra kept their composure to regain the lead and keep the Storm at bay.

Jordan Rapana (right) won the Raiders game with a try seven minutes from time

Jordan Rapana (right) won the Raiders game with a try seven minutes from time

Hudson Young reached Raiders level with a try after a controversial decision

Hudson Young reached Raiders level with a try after a controversial decision

Nelson Asofa-Solomona crashed in the 56th minute to give Melbourne a 20-16 lead

Nelson Asofa-Solomona crashed in the 56th minute to give Melbourne a 20-16 lead

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart’s tactics centered on Nick Meaney, who defended for the Storm at five-eighth, with the Raiders’ big men, led by Joe Tapine and Josh Papalii, dealing a lot of damage.

The Raiders ran out of territory in the first stanza, but made nearly every visit halfway through Melbourne.

After enduring some early storm pressure, the Raiders threw the ball wide and young center Matt Timoko showed his speed and strength, handing Munster to the ground in the seventh minute.

The Raiders have now won each of their last five trips to AAMI Park, a remarkable record!

The Raiders have now won each of their last five trips to AAMI Park, a remarkable record!

The Storm suffered an exit from the finals in week 1 for the first time since the 2014 season

The Storm suffered an exit from the finals in week 1 for the first time since the 2014 season

Two tries for Coates gave them an 8-4 lead, but the Raiders crossed twice in the final nine minutes of the half to take an eight-point lead at halftime.

Halfback Jamal Fogarty and then Elliott Whitehead both slammed through weak defense, which would have infuriated Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

Coates planted the ball over the line on his third try four minutes into the second half after a break from Marion Seve for the Storm just two points down.

And then Asofa-Solomona’s effort gave the home side a lead, but it was short-lived, as the green machine ended with a swing to let the Storm take hold.

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