Former Kiwis wing Jordan Rapana has made a remarkable return to the NRL, scoring a try as the Canberra Raiders defeated the Melbourne Storm 22-6 at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Earlier, Kiwis captain Benji Marshall inspired the Wests Tigers to a come-from-behind 28-16 win over the struggling Cronulla Sharks in Sydney.
The Raiders sent an ominous warning to the rest of the NRL and maintained their unbeaten start to the season, with their demolition over against the favoured Storm in Melbourne.
Halfback George WIlliams led the way, had a hand in two tries as the Raiders opened up an 18-6 lead at half-time.
Rapana, who returned to the Raiders during the coronavirus-enforced shutdown after a short stint playing rugby in Japan, opened the scoring in the fourth minute, which was quickly followed by a try to Nick Cotric.
The Storm hit back when Dale Finucane crashed over, but the Raiders restored their 12-point advantage before the break when a Williams offload sent Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad over the line.
Kiwis forward Joseph Tapine then sealed the win with a try just before the full-time siren, as the Raiders celebrated a 3-0 start to a season for the first time since 2005.
Despite the win, Raiders coach Ricky Staurt knows his team can play better.
"I was very proud of the defensive effort and keeping them to zero in the second half but they really helped us with so many errors," Stuart said.
"We were very gritty and if we didn't have that grit and determination tonight, our game wasn't going to get us the win, the grit that we showed was the telling factor."
Meanwhile, the Sharks' week from hell continued as they surrendered a 16-10 half-time lead to slump to their third-straight loss of the season.
The Sharks were dealt a big blow earlier in the week when youngster Bronson Xerri was provisionally stood down for testing positive to performance-enhancing drugs.
But now they have even bigger problems as they're one of four teams who have failed to register a single win this season.
The Tigers raced out to an early 10-0 lead with debutant Harry Grant - who is on loan from the Melbourne Storm - and Robert Jennings both scored inside the first seven minutes.
But a brace from Josh Dugan and a try from Will Kennedy saw the Sharks lead at the break.
A Luke Garner try and Benji Marshall penalty goal levelled the scores with 20 minutes to go, before a lapse in defence handed the Tigers the lead.
Collecting a goal-line drop-out just inside the Sharks' half, Tigers winger David Nofoaluma burst through three tackles to score and give his side the lead.
Tigers prop Josh Aloiai sealed their second victory of the season when he barged over from close range moments later.
To make things worse, the Sharks will likely be without prop Andrew Fifita and halfback Chad Townsend for next weekend's clash against the North Queensland Cowboys.
Sharks coach John Morris refused to blame the drama surrounding 19-year-old Xerri for his side's defeat.
"I felt we'd been pretty good actually during the week. We were able to focus on the job, we were really excited about coming here and resuming our season," he said.
"There's going to be excuses there for the boys but you won't find anyone in there using it as an excuse for our performance tonight."
"I just felt like we beat ourselves."