Rapana sparks Raiders' crunch NRL win

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Off-contract veteran Jordan Rapana has done his best to earn a new deal, receiving glowing praise from coach Ricky Stuart after helping Canberra stay in the NRL finals hunt.

After cheekily claiming Rapana liked to blow his own trumpet at training, Stuart couldn't help but also talk up the 32-year-old following Friday night's crucial 28-16 win over New Zealand Warriors in Mackay.

The Raiders kept their top-eight hopes alive after Rapana helped Canberra reel in a 16-0 first half deficit.

The Raiders scored five unanswered tries, including two in the final two minutes, to provisionally move to eighth.

Rapana crossed in the 78th minute and set up another, running 225m and finishing with two line breaks.

Rapana started at fullback but shone on the wing after a backline reshuffle caused by Bailey Simonsson's 24th minute groin injury.

"He tells me every week what he can do, but he is actually doing it so I can't criticise him for it," Stuart laughed.

"He will love hearing this but I said to Matty Ford our team manager on the bench (on Friday night that) he amazes me.

"He breaks a lot of tackles, he makes a lot of metres, but it is all through effort and energy - he is a real team person."

Rapana inked a one-year deal for 2021, making the most of a Raiders lifeline following an ill-fated move to Japanese rugby.

He may yet earn another after continuing his impressive season with his display against the Warriors which also included four conversions.

Rapana missed a 72nd minute penalty with the scores locked up at 16-16 but made amends by crossing six minutes later as Canberra finished with a wet sail to end the Warriors' finals hopes.

Another Raiders standout was Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who came off the bench to slot into fullback in just his second game back from a serious neck injury.

Despite being targeted in the second half by hard-hitting winger Marcelo Montoya, Nicoll-Klokstad ran 149m and finished with one try, a try assist and a line break.

The win snapped a two-game losing run for Canberra who must beat Sydney Roosters next week in their regular season finale to remain in the top-eight mix.

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