Shaun Fensom of the Raiders looks to offload.
Shaun Fensom of the Raiders looks to offload. GETTY IMAGES

Late magic sets up Raiders victory

CANBERRA has pulled off a Houdini-like 24-22 win over Melbourne Storm after trailing for 78 minutes of their NRL clash in the nation's capital yesterday.

Flogged 68-4 by the Storm in one of the club's most embarrassing losses in Canberra last year, the Raiders snatched victory after 23 year-old local Paul Vaughan swooped on a loose ball and ran 20m to lock the game up at 22-all with time almost gone.

Centre Jarrod Croker completed a strong game by landing the match-clinching conversion in front of an excited Easter Sunday crowd of more than 10,000.

"I just picked up the loose ball and a hole opened up," said Gungahlin Bulls junior Vaughan who played three Test matches for Italy in last year's World Cup.

"I played in that loss (to Melbourne) last year.

"It was heartbreaking in front of our home crowd."

Melbourne got out to a 22-12 lead early in the second half after winger Mahe Fonua crossed for his second try off a superb pass from halfback Cooper Cronk before Raiders flier Reece Robinson complete his tray brace to cut the margin to 22-18.

Canberra then benefited from two big calls.

The first when Josh Papalii managed to hold up winger Sisa Waqa over the line, and again a short time later when the visitors were denied another try by the video referee.