After putting a string of poor performances behind them last week with a win over the Wests Tigers, the Raiders Holden Cup side have slid into another poor defensive display and further down the top eight after a 46-18 thrashing at the hands of the Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday afternoon.
Canberra’s inability to hold onto the ball in attack and a second half scoring blitz from the Sea Eagles was what put Canberra to the sword. The loss now sees the Raiders slip down to 6th place, putting them in serious danger of missing the finals this year.
It was a lacklustre start for the Raiders, as a knock on during their first set saw Manly score the first points inside only two minutes.
In their first attacking set the Sea Eagles spread the ball out wide to the right, where the sliding defence from the Raiders simply wasn’t enough to stop Tom Trbojevic from scoring and earning a 6-0 lead following the successful conversion from Hugh Pratt.
After numerous errors in attack, Canberra were unable to take advantage during attack which hurt even more once Manly again scored as soon as they were down the other end of the field.
A cut out ball from dummy half was sent to Darcy Cox who ran into a hole in the Raiders defence to score from close range in the 19th minute. With the conversion successful the score was 12-0 in favour of the Sea Eagles.
The Green Machine’s defence then fell apart from the ensuing kick-off, as Manly captain Will Pearsall made a line break right through the middle of the forward pack. The scramble defence from Canberra prevented the runaway try, however they couldn’t prevent the overlap on the right where Jesse Ramien scored Manly’s third for the half. With just 15 minutes left in the first half the score quickly blew out to 18-0.
To rub salt into their wounds, Manly managed to score their fourth try three minutes before half-time through Addison Demetriou.
Just as things couldn’t get worse for Canberra they then conceded another try with only 20 seconds left on the clock after another break down the right hand edge saw Dallas Koen score under the posts to further extend the Sea Eagles’ lead out to 28-0 going into the sheds at half-time.
As the second half began it was again the flimsy edge defence from the Green Machine that allowed the Sea Eagles to continue their momentum.
As Demetriou ran hard towards the sliding right edge defence of the Raiders, he broke the line and ran 50 metres down the field to score his second try of the afternoon. Pratt converted from the sideline to extend Manly’s lead out to 34-0.
Nothing was going right for the Green Machine as the Sea Eagles went about running almost the length of the field to score in the 55th minute. Trbojevic picked up a kick down the right hand sideline and ran 70 metres before offloading to Demetriou who scored his third try of the game and his second of the half. With 24 minutes remaining it was Manly ahead 40-0.
After 62 minutes the Green Machine finally managed to get on the scoreboard when a cut out ball from Dylan McGrath from dummy half was fired out to the hard running Kalani Going who went over the try line unopposed. Tre Williams’ conversion made it 40-6.
Canberra began to pick up their attacking intensity and as a result managed to score twice in a row when an inside ball from Lachlan Lewis saw Morgan Boyle streak away to score under the uprights and lift Canberra’s spirits. Manly’s lead was then whittled down to 40-12 with 13 minutes remaining following Williams’ conversion.
As the Raiders scored their third try in a row many were wondering where this attacking performance was all game.
A bullocking, hard run from Brett Solomon off the bench saw him break numerous tackles as he made his way under the posts for Canberra’s third try in 10 minutes. The lead was still in favour of Manly 40-18 with just two minutes remaining.
Just as the positives began shining through late for the Raiders it was Manly who had the last laugh as they ran the length of the field to score the last points for the day. Tom Trbojevic again broke through the tackles to then offload to Pearsall to score his second.
The final score read 46-18.