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Raiders centre Jarrod Croker.

It was Canberra's second close loss in two weeks, but don’t try and compare this current iteration of the side to the one that made narrow defeats an art form last season.

The Raiders were denied a chance to snatch victory on the bell when co-captain Jarrod Croker was swarmed by desperate Souths Sydney defenders, with the Rabbitohs hanging on to win 16-12 at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.

Despite a combined losing margin of 10 points in the last two weeks against the Sydney Roosters and Souths, the Raiders far from disgraced themselves.

Operating without 397 games worth of NRL experience through injured stars Joey Leilua, Jordan Rapana, Joe Tapine and John Bateman, the Raiders made the Rabbitohs work for every metre and point.

While close enough isn't good enough in the Telstra Premiership, there is a growing belief with the Raiders that they are heading towards being a genuine contender at the end of the season when fit and healthy.

"We've given ourselves opportunities to be in the fight and they're two of the best sides in the comp at the moment," Croker said of the past fortnight.

"Hopefully towards the back end of the year we work on that and take those minor opportunities because you don't get many against the good sides.''

Match Highlights: Raiders v Rabbitohs

The co-captain put his hand up for not getting the last-gasp try which could have snatched the best win of the season for Canberra had the script-writer been using lime green ink.

"I should have taken the opportunity at the end but I just lost it at the last second," Croker said.

"I didn't drop it, I don't know what you'd call it, I was scoring and something hit the ball, I'm not sure what the rule says there but I didn't drop it and I didn’t lose control.

"That's the game and I've got to take responsibility for that."

Canberra's development has been fast-tracked this season due to it's slew of injuries at key positions.

Hudson Young, Corey Horsburgh, Bailey Simonsson and debutant Sebastian Kris have all shouldered the extra responsibility placed on them in recent weeks.

Croker is confident the dividends will be repaid to the club many times over for their experiences now.

"They've been great for us and we've lost some experience there in Johnny (Bateman) and Rapa and BJ, and Taps is still out and Luke Bateman's out," he said.

"Those guys have come on and been great, Bailey (Simonsson) and even Sebby (Kris) when he got an opportunity, they all haven't missed a beat.

"So, for them to get that experience in big games, they're getting that against the best teams in the comp so it'll only benefit them.

Press Conference: Raiders v Rabbitohs - Round 10, 2019

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Kris was thrown in with five minutes left in the game, with the 20-year-old sorting through mixed emotions post-game.      

"I felt pretty good to get out there and get the game, but I really felt the loss given it was so close," Kris said.

"It really boosted my confidence (coming in late) and helped me get rid of the nerves when it was so frantic, so I could just try and do what I could to help the team.

The loss was a heartfelt one for the Raiders with the team wearing black arm-bands in honour of club legend Quentin Pongia, who passed away just hours before kick-off.

"While we didn’t get the win for him tonight, I'm sure he'd be very proud of the effort," Croker said.

"It was very tough and a lot of physicality and a bit of push and shove and that's what Q was all about," Croker said.

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.