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New Zealand Warriors stun Canberra Raiders in gritty NRL clash

Canberra blew an eight-point lead in the final 12 minutes against the Warriors and will face Melbourne next weekend in a NRL qualifying final.

The Raiders looked set for a trip to Sydney to face the Roosters but fell to fourth on the ladder as the Warriors stormed home on Saturday to win 24-20 at GIO Stadium.

The Raiders beat the Storm in Melbourne three weeks ago but Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said that would only make the minor premiers hungrier.

"That will have them even more ready, I know what (coach) Craig (Bellamy) is like, so that will certainly be a big part of their preparation," he said.

"It's a disappointing way to finish, but we've got to own that performance.

"Some of our play was waiting for it to be handed to us so we have own it, learn from it and now we start the next part of our competition.

"I was more disappointed with the way we played out there rather than playing Melbourne or playing the Roosters.

"They're two great football teams. You've got to be at your best now. It's a completely different competition."

The result also confirmed the Roosters will host South Sydney in the other qualifying final.

The Warriors were playing for pride but started the stronger but an incredible piece of athleticism from Raiders back-rower Elliott Whitehead proved the catalyst for the contest's opening try.

Jack Wighton grubbered into the in-goal before Whitehead made a superman-like dive over the dead-ball line and batted the ball back for Seb Kris to force.

The Warriors hit back through Lachlan Burr who crashed over from close range in the 20th minute as they capitalised on three consecutive penalties.

The visitors then went ahead when Adam Blair popped a pass to winger Adam Pompey though the lead only lasted four minutes as Josh Papalii barged over.

Canberra hooker Josh Hodgson then dummied over to score on the final play of the half and give the hosts a 16-12 advantage.

Raiders winger Michael Oldfield expanded the buffer in the 54th minute when he dashed 50m before scoring in the corner, but injuring a shoulder in the process.

Undeterred, the Warriors scored one of the tries of the season when Roger Tuivasa-Sheck began a fifth-tackle play on halfway that went through 13 sets of hands before the skipper finished off a stunning movement.

Warriors halfback Blake Green completed an unexpected comeback with a show-and-go in the 76th minute to nail the match-winner.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said while their campaign had once again been plagued by inconsistency, he was pleased to finish off with a win.

"It's been a fairly challenging month, putting it mildly," he said.

"I'm really pleased for the boys to finish off the year like that after the last couple of weeks that we've had, it's been a bit of a horror stretch."