Ronald Volkman’s clutch field goal in literally the final seconds of the match sealed a remarkable 21-20 win for the One New Zealand Warriors in their round 21 New South Wales Cup encounter with the Canberra Raiders as Go Media Stadium Mt Smart tonight.
With the score locked at 20-20, Volkman’s perfectly struck one pointer got his team home in extraordinary circumstances to give them a stronger hold on fourth spot on the ladder.
Just 13 minutes earlier it was a ricochet from his own kick that had given his side a sniff, when he collected and speared through a gap for a try he converted to leave the Warriors just 18-20 behind.
With seven minutes to play he slotted a penalty from in front to square the ledger at 20-20 to set up the desperate finish.
After the Raiders spilled the ball as they searched for a winning one pointer, standoff Ben Farr swooped and made a telling break up the middle of the field which would ultimately set up Volkman’s late heroics.
The team’s 11th win of the season had looked anything but possible in the opening quarter.
Lacking intensity and energy, the One New Zealand Warriors invited the Raiders to come through the front door and they did, winger Nick Cotric with the opening try in the fourth minute followed by centre Brad Morkos in the 11th and fullback Chevy Stewart in the 14th. With Stewart converting all three, Canberra had a daunting 18-0 lead.
The Warriors needed to stop the bleeding and find a way into the contest.
That they did, grinding their way back and eventually earning a telling reward just two minutes out from the break when hooker Michael Sio sneaked over.
In the 51st minute they had the margin down to 12-18 with second rower Kalani Going icing a long range raid before a Stewart penalty gave Canberra an eight-point advantage.
There it stayed for 13 minutes, the Warriors remaining patient, defending their errors and then coming through with Volkman’s try, conversion, penalty and that field goal.
Go Media Stadium Mt Smart, Auckland
One New Zealand Warriors 21 (Micheal Sio, Kalani Going, Ronald Volkman tries; Ronald Volkman 3 conversions, penalty, field goal).
Canberra Raiders 20 (Nick Cotric, Brad Morkos, Chevy Stewart tries; Chevy Stewart 3 conversions, penalty).
Halftime: 18-6 Raiders.
One New Zealand Warriors | Taine Tuauapiki; Setu Tu, Moala Graham-Taufa, Viliami Vailea, Sanele Aukusitino; Ben Farr, Ronald Volkman; Tanner Stowers-Smith, Michael Sio (c), Tom Ale; Kalani Going (c), Leka Halasima; Demitric Sifakula. Interchange: Zyon Maiu’u, Isaiah Vagana, Maia Sands, Jacob Laban.