Canberra Raiders will face minor premiers Melbourne Storm in the NRL finals after a shock loss to New Zealand Warriors, while Gareth Widdop and Jeremy Latimore bid a triumphant farewell to St George Illawarra Dragons.
The Raiders were unable to regain third position from South Sydney Rabbitohs – who will face rivals Sydney Roosters in the qualifying finals – as they went down 24-20 at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
Ahead of their meeting with the Storm, Canberra will have concerns over Michael Oldfield after the wing went off with a shoulder injury sustained while touching down in the corner and making it 20-12 in the 53rd minute.
There could also be trouble for Hudson Young, who appeared to make contact with Adam Pompey’s eye while attempting to stop him score a try in the 30th minute. Young served a five-match suspension for a similar offence against Canterbury Bulldogs in June. Addressing the latest incident, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said: “I know he didn’t gouge the kid.”
The Warriors rallied late on to secure a win, as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck polished off an incredible move after the visitors did superbly to keep the ball alive on the last tackle in the 69th minute and Blake Green ran in to complete a surprise turnaround.
— NRL (@NRL) September 7, 2019
Widdop converted four tries and assisted one in his final match before departing for Super League side Warrington Wolves as the Dragons defeated the Titans 24-16.
Half-back Widdop – who became the first Englishman to score 1,000 NRL points – released Ben Hunt for his second try in the space of six minutes, with Latimore coming on for the final two minutes to help Paul McGregor’s side close their season with victory in his final match before retirement.
— The Dragons (@NRL_Dragons) September 7, 2019
Brisbane Broncos were unable to guarantee their place in the finals as they fell to a humbling 30-14 loss at the Bulldogs.
Nick Meaney scored a hat-trick and had 22 points as the Bulldogs ended the season with another upset that means the Broncos must hope Wests Tigers and Cronulla Sharks do not draw on Sunday – an unlikely result that would send both teams through at Brisbane’s expense.