Raiders to use Manly win as springboard to greater glory
It will go down as one of the ugliest field goals Aidan Sezer will kick in his career, but you can forgive the Canberra halfback for not complaining.
Sezer was swamped by teammates as his chip-shot from 15 metres out wobbled between the posts, capping a remarkable 21-20 comeback win by the Raiders.
Down 14-2 after 20 minutes, the home team fought back to give themselves a chance of a crucial victory.
However, when Manly centre Brian Kelly split the defence in the 64th minute the notion of yet another close loss for the Raiders was back on the table.
The Raiders lost eight games by six points or less last season and have already dropped five games by eight or less in 2018.
But this time the rub of the green went Canberra's way and now they are in a position to creep back into the top eight when they return from their round 13 bye.
"I thought the one I hit before that came off the boot pretty sweet, but it hit Marty Taupau's body, but they all count for one point," Sezer said of his late-game heroics.
"I'm just happy we got away with the win, I'm not really focusing on how good the field goal was, it's just good to get such a crucial win in our season."
The Raiders' game management has come under fire at different times this season as they lost games they probably should've won.
Sezer admitted it was pleasing to be able to manipulate an opposition and capitalise on mistakes, allowing the Raiders to belt out a rendition of their victory song rather than hearing the opposition sing theirs through the changing room walls.
"It was pretty fortunate where [Tom] Trbojevic made an error and we got a repeat set off the back of a kick and it gave us an opportunity to get the field goal," he said.
"I was thinking [it was] going to go over and we're going to get the win and go and have a good time with the Old Boys and the team as well.
"It's been few and far between the tight wins. I'm pretty sure it's frustrating for our fans through all of those tight losses. But it's very sweet to get a win in this fashion."
The win was still far from perfect for the Raiders, but it was a big improvement over the 32-16 road loss to Manly in round four.
Sezer hoped the nature of Friday night's win will help them continue to rise from the ashes after an 0-4 start to the season.
"We are playing some pretty positive footy," he said.
"You saw [Manly] came out with a lot of energy and we knew if we could weather that storm we could get ourselves back in the fight and the boys did that.
"I spoke before about making so many errors and we didn't deserve to win the game. But to get a win in that style with our captain kicking that goal to level things up with three (minutes) to go, hopefully it's a springboard and has inspired all of the boys."