The Canberra Raiders have completed their second come-from-behind victory of the pre-season, beating the Canterbury Bulldogs 28-22 in Bega.
Down 16-points at half-time, the Raiders capitalised on Canterbury resting a number of their stars in the second half to earn a confidence-boosting victory.
A flurry of four tries in the final 22 minutes got the job done. Nick Cotric scored the first two before Bailey Simonsson and Tony Satini completed the revival.
Despite the loss, there were plenty of positive signs for the Bulldogs with new recruit Dylan Napa impressing early.
The same can be said for their spine, with Michael Lichaa, Kieran Foran, Lachlan Lewis and Will Hopoate all playing strongly.
Napa came under heavy pressure early in his first minutes in blue and white, with the Raiders defence trying to unsettle the giant prop.
Match: Raiders v Bulldogs
Round 2 -
Venue: Bega Recreation Ground
Canberra were first on the board as they worked the middle of the field well on the back of a penalty. Royce Hunt continued to press his claims for a spot in the 17 for round one by reaching out to slam the ball down.
Canterbury hit back soon after with some slick handling on their left edge. A crafty off-load by skipper Josh Jackson and a flick-on from Hopoate created an overlap that allowed Kerrod Holland to crash over.
A darting run from Lichaa opened up space for Aiden Tolman to storm through a hole and give the Bulldogs a four-point lead in the 16th minute.
Three penalties in a row for Canberra saw them apply the blow torch to the Bulldogs but the men in blue and white were able to hold both Joe Tapine and Jack Wighton up over the line.
Ill-discipline by the Raiders continued to help the Bulldogs out of their own half. Good field position allowed them to attack the Raiders' right edge.
Seb Kris rushed up out of the line in a desperate bid to shut down a Canterbury raid, only to see quick hands give Holland the space he needed to score his second. The Bulldogs lead was out to 10 points.
Reimis Smith then capitalised on a mistake by Wighton to race 60 metres and score, with Nick Meany slotting the easy conversion as Canterbury's grip on the game tightened at 22-6 in the shadows of half-time.
Canberra's defence early in the second half muscled up and made a concerted effort to wrap up the ball and stop the second-phase play that was so dangerous for Canterbury early on.
The pressure Canberra applied in the early stages of the second half eventually told as they shifted the ball to the left and a low cut-out pass found the safe hands of Nick Cotric, who scurried over in the corner to make the score 22-12.
Canberra's comeback continued with Sam Williams drifting across field before a long cut-out pass by Josh Hodgson again found Cotric.
The hulking winger still had some work to do but managed to put it down as the Raiders cut the lead down to a converted try with 16 minutes left.
The game was level with five minutes remaining, after a slick back-handed off-load by Croker found Bailey Simonsson who bullied his way over.
Off the next set, Canberra rumbled down the middle of the field the ball was swung to the right where Tony Satini score to give the Raiders the a six-point win.