The Raiders were denied a try in controversial circumstances, but made amends a few minutes later after a mistake by the Knights. After 25 minutes the score is 6-6.
Jack Wighton laid a big hit to Dane Gagai, who forced the ball to the Knights’ own 20-yard line, which the Raiders picked up and scored.
“That’s a mistake you don’t see with Dane Gagai,” Jake Duke said on Fox League.
MATCH CENTER: Knights vs. Raiders teams, SuperCoach scores, videos, updates
Earlier, the Raiders were denied a try when Ata Mariota jumped over the goal from close range and the ball appeared to lightly touch the ground.
However, the attempt was initially rejected as the Bunker did not see enough evidence to overturn the decision.
“This is remarkable…basically his own fingers prevented the Raiders front rower from scoring his first try of the game,” Warren Smith said in his commentary.
Knights winger Greg Marzhew continued his great season scoring the first try of the game.
Marzhew came on after a lovely catch-and-pass from Bradman Best, with Kalyn Ponga also involved in the defensive movement.
“Beautiful stuff, the execution is perfect,” said Steve Roach.
The Raiders suffered an early setback when youngster Hohepa Puru (headbutt) left the game after just three minutes.
Kalyn Ponga will be nursing a shoulder injury as the Knights pick up their 10th straight win when they host the Raiders in an elimination final at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Both teams are 1-17.
Ponga (shoulder), halfback Jackson Hastings (ankle), utility Kurt Mann (sternum) and back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon (shoulder) are all willing to overcome injuries to play.
However, Ponga will need padding and a pin before kick-off as the Raiders are expected to target him.
Both Dane Gagai (stomach problem) and bench striker Mat Croker (head knock) are expected to play.
For the Raiders, Jack Wighton was nominated in the centers and James Schiller on the wing. Raiders center Albert Hopoate has replaced outgoing club legend Jarrod Croker as Ricky Stuart’s 18th man.
Ata Mariota and Hohepa Puru are both in the starting lineup after being promoted to the youth team last week in place of the injured Josh Papalii and the suspended Corey Horsburgh.
The Knights are the best team in the NRL and will have a full stadium behind them in their first home final since 2006.
The Raiders made it to the final in eighth place despite losing three of their last four games, but Ricky Stuart will look to use a siege mentality to pull off a massive upset and advance as the loser plans for next year .
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