The most unwanted title of the NRL premiership looms closer for Canberra.
The Canberra Raiders have suffered yet another loss, this time to the Parramatta Eels, 18-10 at TIO Stadium in Darwin on Saturday night.
It was a far more spirited and competitive performance from the Green Machine, but nevertheless the same disappointing outcome. It means the side creeps even closer to the undesirable wooden spoon.
The game started positively for the Raiders—doing something they haven’t too many times this season in scoring first. It was a lovely cut-out pass that saw Bill Tupou score out wide in the 11th minute. Jarrod Croker’s conversion made it 6-0.
Things only improved for Canberra soon after, as Josh McCrone sent a bomb out wide intended for Edrick Lee. The lanky winger proved why the side has missed him so much this year, taking the catch with ease before throwing a basketball-like pass for Croker to score.
But it only took until the 23rd minute for the most dangerous player in the competition to strike. Jarryd Hayne started and finished a movement out wide that had the scores closer at 10-6.
Canberra looked a far more spirited outfit than it did last week against the Warriors, coming up with stinging tackles in defence, and then showing desperation befitting a respected NRL side. On two occasions the Raiders’ defence saw tries sent upstairs to the video and then subsequently disallowed.
Despite playing in the five-eighth role, Anthony Milford exhibited his fullback prowess on Chris Sandow, denying the Eels yet again by holding the Parramatta playmaker up over the line.
But after leading the match for 71 minutes, the man of the moment just couldn’t resist driving the nail into the coffin that has been Canberra’s season. Hayne flew onto a deft pass and surged through the line to race fifty metres and score his 100th career try.
To cement the result, Tepai Moeroa scored in the 75th minute. Chris Sandow put through a cheeky kick that was fumbled by stand-in Raiders fullback Jordan Rapana, before Moeroa regathered the crumbs to score next to the posts. The resulting conversion made the result a formality.
It was a far more committed performance from the Raiders, but ultimately came to nothing. Hopefully the lack of reward won’t detract from the pride the players should have in their own performance. This week at least, they deserve that.
Eels: 18 (Tries: Hayne 2, Moeroa; Goals: Sandow 3/3)
Raiders: 10 (Tries: Tupou, Croker; Goals: Croker 1/2)
Will the players be able to see the improvement in their performance beyond the disappointment of the result?