Redemption! Walker seals golden-point thriller
IT WAS a case of third time lucky for Dylan Walker as he held his nerve and kicked Manly to a memorable 20-18 victory in Canberra.
Walker had botched two conversion attempts during normal time that could have prevented this thriller heading into golden point.
When the centre put his second attempt right of the posts with five minutes on the clock, he was heckled by Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson and a melee erupted.
Sea Eagles players who were set for the kick off had to charge to the other end of the field to defend their mate.
But when Joe Tapine and Hodgson were pinged for a stripping penalty in the 84th minute, Walker had the chance to be the hero and nail it from 39m out and in front.
As the Raiders players lined up 10m away and continued to bait him, Walker moved in and struck the ball, watching it bounce off the right upright and over the crossbar.
He celebrated like Manly had just won a grand final.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart was the first to disappear up the tunnel. He would have been filthy with the stripping penalty that denied his side a fourth straight win.
This game had everything in the second half, including a try-of-the-year contender to Jordan Rapana, who defied gravity to somehow regather a Blake Austin grubber and score in the right corner.
It was his eighth try in as many games, but none have been this spectacular. Any future tries will struggle to top it.
Rapana's four-pointer with less than five minutes on the clock gave the Raiders an 18-14 victory.
But Daly Cherry-Evans put Frank Winterstein into a gap and the big fella found Tom Trbojevic who scored and gave Walker his chance to seal the deal.
He missed, but there would be no butchering it a third time.
The Raiders faithful deserved an epic finish. They didn't get the result, and it's a shame they will now have to wait a month to see their team in action again at home.
Canberra could have a case to answer after Joey Leilua took a few minutes to come from the field for a HIA test. What appeared to be a head knock ended up being a mysterious leg injury, only for Leilua to later come from the field.
The Sea Eagles came home late against Melbourne, and they were impossible to fault in the first half, completing 18 from 18, including the final four consecutive sets of the half.
Jake Trbojevic thought he had scored off a Blake Green grubber, only for Jack Wighton's fingertips to deny him his moment.
The Raiders defence was just as classy, and the Raiders fans gave them a standing ovation for their efforts.
The Viking Clap started at halftime, and it had the desire effect on the players as Josh Papalii barged between Cherry-Evans and Walker to score.
But Cherry-Evans hit back straight away when his grubber bounced off the legs of Sia Soliola and fond the chest of Jake Trbojevic again.
When Walker was put through a gap from a lovely short ball from Lewis Brown a few moments later, Manly had their tails up and looked headed for a well-fought victory.
MANLY 20 (T Trbojevic J Trbojevic D Walker tries D Walker 4 goals) bt CANBERRA 18 (J Croker J Papalii J Rapana tries J Croker 3 goals) in extra time at GIO Stadium. Referee: Chris Sutton, Grant Atkins. Crowd: 15,976.