Despite their spirited performance the Canberra Raiders Holden Cup side have bowed out of the finals losing 24-22 to the Wests Tigers at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Missed conversions ended up being for the Raiders with four tries from Canberra left unconverted.
The Green Machine were playing catch-up for much of the match until much improved defence and good attacking execution had them in front at one stage.
Alas, too many errors coming out of their own end proved fatal with the Green Machine conceding a couple of tries from the continued pressure they put themselves under.
Whilst there was a spirited comeback from the Raiders late in the game, there just wasn’t enough time to stage arguably their best come back of the season.
Both sides were fast out of the blocks with good attacking sets however it was the Raiders defence that cracked first.
A ball kicked across field was allowed to bounce from Canberra and the Tigers’ Marion Seve managed to dive on the ball in the goal area. With the conversion missed from the sideline Wests were ahead 4-0 after just four minutes.
Just as they had done so for the past couple of weeks the Green Machine answered back in quick fashion. Close to the try line, hooker Zac Woolford put in a grubber behind the Tigers defence for Lachlan Lewis who managed to dive on and ground the ball.
The conversion attempt from Woolford was a disappointing one and scores were level at 4-4.
With the momentum swinging firmly the way of Canberra, a consecutive try just two minutes after their last allowed them to hit the lead.
As Chevi Ellis attacked the left edge, he managed an offload which created an overlap for Cameron Booth who took advantage to score his first points of the afternoon. The conversion woes continued for Woolford as his attempt hit the uprights and after 14 minutes it was a four point ball game 8-4 in favour of the Raiders.
It was increasingly looking as if the Raiders were going to go into half-time only conceding the one try however some individual brilliance from Jeremy Marshall King saw him create a line break to score Wests second try of the half to leave the scores 8-8.
As half-time sounded it put an end to a franticly paced first half, after conceding early points both sides put on a strong defensive effort which saw a traditionally high scoring affair end 8-8 with the second half to come.
Tevita Pangai Junior looked dangerous all game and was unlucky to have not made an impact on the scoreboard, however he provided the next best thing setting up Booth’s second try.
With a hard charging run at the goal line defence of the Tigers, Pangai Junior managed to get an arm free to offload onto Booth who dove in untouched. Not a single goal conversion was successful after 44 minutes and the trend continued to leave Canberra in front 12-8.
In a good run of play for the Tigers they managed to quickly place 12 quick points on the board to leave Canberra on the back foot. Te Maire Martin scored two quick tries with dummies fooling the Raiders defence, whilst a penalty saw the Tigers land the first successful goal of the day to take a 20-12 lead.
Canberra needed something to spark a comeback and double try scorer Cameron Booth provided that with a huge hit off the kick-off forcing an error and good attacking field position.
From there, Jack Williams received a cut out ball from Lewis, and whilst juggling the ball he managed to get it down just over the line to cut the Tigers lead to 20-16. Unfortunately, that's where the score stayed following another missed conversion from Woolford.
Just as soon as the Green Machine worked so hard to get back into the contest Veiru Mapesone used his pace to beat the outside defenders and extend the Tigers lead out to 24-16.
With only 30 seconds remaining Kalani Going picked up the ball after it was stripped from Lewis to score underneath the posts.
However it all proved too little too late as the clock was against the Raiders and the siren sounded shortly after kick off to end the elimination final 24-22 in favour of the Tigers.elimination final.