It wasn’t the home finish the Raiders Holden Cup side were after, suffering another heavy defeat to the Penrith Panthers, going down 38-8 at GIO Stadium on Monday night.
A first half performance to lament was the undoing for the Green Machine, conceding 32 unanswered points which turned out to be too big of a deficit to overcome regardless of the improved second half performance.
With the heavy loss to the Panthers, the side will have to rely on both the Bulldogs and the Knights to lose both of their next two games to have a chance of making the finals this year.
The Panthers were first to grab points through Moses Leota, as he received an offload close to the goal line and was able to muscle his way over the line beating the cover Raiders defence.
Nathan Cleary was able to slot the goal conversion right over the middle, after eight minutes Penrith was in front 6-0.
It wasn’t long before the Panthers then began to show why they were second best in the competition as they quickly scored back to back tries within minutes.
Oliver Clark was again attacking close to the line and just managed to outstretch his arm over the try line, as Cleary again converted Penrith were looking dangerous 12-0 ahead.
Canberra was quickly on the back foot in their last home game as they conceded their third try in just 13 minutes.
Brent Naden was on the receiving end of a perfectly weighted high bomb, and the fullback jumped above the rest and managed to put the ball down for his first try.
It was ominous and worrying signs for the Raiders as they coughed up three tries in consecutive sets to be down 18-0.
Poor goal line defence putting the Green Machine further behind when a bullocking run from Tyrone May found himself breaking through the tackles to score underneath the Northern uprights.
With there still 19 minutes remaining in the first half the Raiders needed to find their feet quickly if they were to get back in the contest facing a 24-0 deficit.
Even when the Raiders seemed to regain some momentum, Penrith were able to answer back with interest and seemingly were able to score at will.
Corey Harawira held off multiple defenders and managed to put the ball down in the right hand corner just before being taken into touch, and the Panthers were firmly in command 28-0.
As the Canberra Raiders became increasingly annoyed they continued to leak penalties, which in turn led to another try from Christian Crichton who placed the ball down just inside the left corner post to further the lead 32-0.
Fortunately for Canberra that was where the bleeding stopped as the siren sounded for half time, with a massive mountain to climb the Raiders went into the sheds for a much needed rest 32-0 down.
Whilst the Raiders second half defence proved strong in the early stages, it was again the Panthers putting the points on the scoreboard as they broke down field and Crichton managed to score his second try of the afternoon.
With the conversion successful Penrith climbed to what seemed like an unassailable 38-0 lead.
After 57 minutes the Raiders were finally able to break their scoring drought through a hard run from Cameron Booth. After a couple of quick play the balls, it was sent out to the left edge attack where Dylan McGrath through a cut out pass to Booth who muscled his way over the try line.
With a long way to go still, the Raiders managed to peg back the Panthers lead to 38-4 after 60 minutes of play.
As both sides continued to trade penalties and give up attacking field position, the Raiders were able to score a consolation try in the dying stages of the game.
Kody Parsons received early ball out on the left edge and managed to use his footwork to dance around defenders as well as the sideline to put the ball down just inside the corner post. As the conversion was again unsuccessful Canberra topped off a much improved second half to score their second try with Penrith still ahead 38-8.
As the final siren sounded at the last home game for the season, it was a disappointing end for the young Raiders. Losing 38-8 was the last result the side needed considering their position within the top eight is now in serious jeopardy.
Canberra will now travel to Pirtek Stadium next Sunday to take on the Parramatta Eels in what is a must-win for the team.