Warriors close in on grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors close in on grand final

By Brent Read And Daniel Pace 21/09/2003 05:56:18 AM Comments (0)

The New Zealand Warriors are one win away from returning to the National Rugby League grand final after winning a classic final match against Canberra at Aussie Stadium.

Before more than 30,000 fans - most of whom were behind the New Zealand side - Stacey Jones kicked a field goal in the 77th minute to pilot the Warriors to a 17-16 win over the valiant Canberra Raiders.

It was Jones' second match-winning field goal this year and he later described it as the most important one of his brilliant career, sending the Warriors into a preliminary final against Penrith on Sunday week.

"I can't really remember it," Jones said.

"It was the last tackle so I had to have a go. I just had to try to make sure I hit it sweetly off my boot and give it a chance.

"It could have cost us the game if I kicked the ball and it had gone dead. It would have been a shattering moment for me (if I missed)."

It was a fitting end to a gripping game which neither side deserved to lose.

The Raiders certainly had their chances, with centre Jason Bulgarelli only a fingertip away from putting Canberra in front with five minutes remaining.

But he fumbled Mark McLinden's stab kick over the line and the Warriors went down the other end where Jones performed his heroics.

"The boys said don't worry about it," Bulgarelli said.

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