Centre David Fusitua scored the Vodafone Junior Warriors' last try in their 22-22 NYC draw with Canberra on Saturday night. Photo: Photosport.


Mason Linos late penalty has given the Vodafone Junior Warriors their first success albeit via a draw in four visits to Canberra.


Three previous trips to Canberra Stadium had ended in defeat in 2009 and twice last year.


The John Ackland-coached side had a breakthrough win in sight when they led 20-10 heading into the later stages of Saturday nights sixth-round contest but the tipping point came in the 67th minute.


Just after Raiders centre Brenko Lee had scored his second try to close the gap, there was a hold-up for several minutes as Canberra hooker Matt Frawley was attended to on the field. He was subsequently stretchered off following an incident which resulted in Vodafone Junior Warriors winger Viliami Kaveinga being ordered off.


Down to 12 men for the final 12 minutes, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were in immediate strife when the Raiders took advantage to create a third try for Lee. With the conversion, Canberra reclaimed the lead for the first time since the opening minutes, going into the last seven minutes 22-20 ahead.


There was one last twist with the Vodafone Junior Warriors being awarded a penalty in front of the posts with two minutes left and going for a shot at goal to ensure they left Canberra Stadium with a measure of success for the first time.


It also extended the Vodafone Junior Warriors unbeaten run to four matches since losing the first two of the year, taking them to seven points and keeping them inside the top eight.


After conceding an early try, they had settled into the encounter with a 15th-minute try to captain David Bhana and then opened the gap to 10-4 at halftime when standoff Tuimoala Lolohea dazzled defenders with a stepping dash for a try in the 37th minute.


When interchange hooker Trent Bishop scored straight after the break the lead was out to 16-4 before the match settled into a grind. Eventually the Vodafone Junior Warriors grabbed the advantage with a David Fusitua try before the drama of the closing minutes changed the games complexion.


The occasion had special significance for winger Esera Esera and prop/second rower Toafofoa Sipley, who both made their NYC debuts.


With representative football taking over this week, the Vodafone Junior Warriors have a long turnaround before theyre back in action for their seventh-round encounter with second-placed Melbourne at AMII Park on Anzac Day.


Match details:


At Canberra Stadium, Canberra

Canberra Raiders 22 (Edrick Lee 3, Tahakilu Pangai tries; Anthony Milford 3 conversions).

Vodafone Junior Warriors 22 (David Bhana, Tuimoala Lolohea, Trent Bishop, David Fusitua tries; Mason Lino 2 conversions, penalty).

Halftime: 10-4 Vodafone Junior Warriors.

Referees: Phil Henderson.


Vodafone Junior Warriors: Ngataua Hukatai; Viliami Kaveinga, Solomone Kata, David Fusitua, Viliami Lolohea; Tuimoala Lolohea, Mason Lino; James Taylor, Michael Sio, Sam Lisone; Raymond Faitalaa-Mariner, Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard; David Bhana (c). Interchange: Albert Vete, Trent Bishop, Stedman Lefau, Toafofoa Sipley.