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Raiders halfback Sam Williams.

Sam Williams is adamant Canberra can defy the critics and qualify for the NRL finals this season.

Williams also revealed the Raiders are remaining upbeat as a unit, despite being on the wrong end of several controversial refereeing decisions in their 28-24 loss to Cronulla last Friday.

The halfback conceded allowing the Sharks to bolt out to a 22-point lead at one stage was pivotal, but hoped the NRL will continue to look at tightening up officiating procedures.

"I think sometimes players see things a little bit clearer than the officials," Williams said.

"So, I'm not sure if there's scope for a captain's call and things like that. But once that decision is made and the game's over and the points are with the Sharks.

"So, we can't really worry about the referees, I know they go out there and try to not make errors, it's not something they are consciously trying to do.

"It's just important for us to do everything we can to get the decisions right and whether or not captain's challenge comes into it."

Match Highlights: Sharks v Raiders - Round 19, 2018

Canberra are yet to defeat a top-eight side this season and face a formidable task this Saturday night -  Melbourne at AAMI Park.

Williams said if his team starts better they still believe they can match anyone in the competition, regardless of their position on the ladder.

"We've got a big ask this week and there's no point looking back on last week, we've got to focus on Melbourne," he said.

"I know if we win these last six games we're still a chance (of finals) and as long as there's a chance, there's going to be plenty of fight in this team."

Williams is expecting to again partner Blake Austin in the halves this weekend after a hamstring strain forced Aidan Sezer out of the side.

"I'm not sure where Aidan's at this week but it could be the same sort of set-up, so we'll spend a few more days working together and improve once again," he said. 

Back-rower Elliott Whitehead said the side's second-half performance against the Sharks shows they can be a danger to any team on their day.

"We are in a situation where we have to win all of our games and rely on some other results," Whitehead said.

"The boys seem happy, we know what we have to do this weekend, we'll be concentrating on that."

Raiders back-rower Jack Murchie.
Raiders back-rower Jack Murchie. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

The news wasn't all bad for Canberra, with promising young forward Jack Murchie making his debut off the bench.

The former Junior Kangaroo played 28 minutes in the second half and hopes he has done enough to retain his spot.

"It was really special to make my debut for the Raiders, such a great club and such a great bunch of boys so I was really stoked with it," Murchie said.

"It was definitely really quick, I was blowing a bit there at some stages, but I felt like I held my own."

Coaches Speak – Round 19

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.