The Canberra Raiders have narrowly gone down to the Manly Sea Eagles 18-14 in a penalty-riddled match at GIO Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Two tries and three successful conversions from Jarrod Croker wasn’t enough to deny a rampant Sea Eagles side, who snatched a win in front of 20,265 Canberra fans.
Despite the loss, the Raiders remain in 3rd place on the NRL ladder with just two rounds to go.
The Raiders thought they were first to score thanks to Jack Wighton, who broke through the Sea Eagles defence and muscled his way over the line, however, lost control of the ball just before the line.
The first try of the match came 19 minutes in as Elliot Whitehead got an offload off to co-captain Jarrod Croker, who galloped over his teammate and crashed over to put the Raiders in front.
With six minutes left in the half, the Raiders were awarded a penalty 15 metres out as Jarrod Croker successfully converting it to add to the lead.
A lucky penalty was awarded to the visiting side with less than three minutes remaining in the first half, with Reuben Garrick opting to take the two points.
A second penalty for the Sea Eagles in as many minutes allowed Garrick to double his teams score and reduce the half time deficit as the Raiders went into the break with a four point lead.
The Green Machine were first on the board in the second half thanks to another converted penalty, with Croker slotting it with ease from 20 metres out.
Six minutes later Manly scored through Garrick after an intercept from Jack Gosiewski, with Garrick running 90 metres to score the four-pointer.
A penalty was also awarded to the away side as Joey Leilua made a late tackle on Garrick as he went to score the try, with the successful conversion putting Manly in front.
15 minutes later, Jake Trbojevic crashed through the Raiders’ defensive line and scored right next to the posts.
The Raiders were right back in it just four minutes later as Jack Wighton opened up the Sea Eagles defence and got a ball off to Hudson Young, who gave the ball to Croker as he crossed for his second of the match.
With a minute remaining, Manly forward Morgan Boyle was sent to the bin for a professional foul.
One last ditch attempt from the Green Machine in a hectic final minute eventually came to nothing as the Raiders narrowly went down to the Sea Eagles by four points.
Manly Sea Eagles 18 (Tries: Garrick, J Trbojevic. Goals: Garrick 5/5) def. Canberra Raiders 14 (Tries: 2 Croker. Goals: Croker 3/4)