Canberra Raiders win SG Ball grand final

Cowra's Josh Pokoney (third from the left, middle row) helped the Raiders celebrate their third SG Ball premiership. Picture: Bryden Sharp/NSW Rugby League
Cowra's Josh Pokoney (third from the left, middle row) helped the Raiders celebrate their third SG Ball premiership. Picture: Bryden Sharp/NSW Rugby League

Cowra's Josh Pokoney is celebrating a SG Ball title as a member of the grand final winning Canberra side which recorded a dramatic grand final win on Saturday.

Pokoney has been involved in the Raiders junior system for a number of years.

The guts and determination of the Raiders last-ditch defence was just enough to take the 18-14 win over Illawarra Steelers.

Both sides came out of the sheds firing and with a dry track at Leichhardt Oval, there looked to be plenty of points on offer.

The Raiders defence was typified by a Connor Williams try-saving tackle in the final seconds to help the Raiders to their third SG Ball premiership.

The Raiders never trailed in the clash but eight points was the biggest margin they held over their rivals.

Errors started to creep in for both sides in the closing stages and the Steelers found themselves with an opportunity to draw the scores level.

The crowd were on their feet after UNE SG Ball Cup Player of the Series Junior Amone ran down the right-hand side of the field, beating several defenders until the ball eventually was lost, along with any chance of a Steelers comeback as the Raiders came away 18-14 winners.

Raiders coach Ashley Barnes paid tribute to Peter Mulholland, who's in hospital following chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant in his ongoing battle against blood cancer.

"The boys really put in a good effort for Pete. We wish he could've been here, but he's someone who's put a lot of time and effort into these young men and he can take a lot of credit for the result," Barnes said.

Canberra lock Trey Mooney was named man of the match, despite carrying a shoulder injury,- while fellow middle Caleb Esera scored a try in a dominant display and fullback Jack Sandford crossed for what proved to be the winner. Sione Moala was the other try scorer for the victors, who added their names in the history books alongside the 1995 and 2005 SG Ball premiership teams.