The disappointment was undeniable when Sia Soliola and Dunamis Lui reflected on what they described as their worst defensive effort of the season.
The Raiders were off to a near-perfect start for 2020, conceding just 18 points in their first three games combined, but the Knights doubled that in 80 minutes in their 34 – 18 victory at Campbelltown stadium.
Soliola discussed their performance on what he referred to as a tough day all round.
“We will look at a few things today, obviously there are some issues there we need to address . . . the performance there wasn’t up to the standard that we’ve been talking about all this year, and it’s probably uncovered a few things that we need to prepare for.”
“Whether it be a physical thing or a mental thing, we will address it today”.
Their stellar 22 – 6 victory against Melbourne when the season re-launched had the Raiders looking like premiership favourites, but their performance against the Knights has certainly revealed a few kinks to be ironed out.
“Yeah it was a chalk and cheese performance wasn’t it”.
"It's pretty scary to think that, given the start, we've had and trying to come off the back of a good off-season and a good break during the COVID period, to come back and perform well a week prior to that [against Melbourne], and then to have 30-odd points put against us – that's an issue,” he said.
The new set of six rule seemed to favour the Raiders against Melbourne, but with momentum going the way of the Knights, Canberra just couldn’t get into the game.
“The new game structure and how its’ being officiated, it’s definitely created a lot of hype. There are going to be more opportunities, I feel, around the ruck area, we just need to tighten up a few things within our ranks. That all comes down to choices really, because we need to adapt, and we need to adapt quickly”.
Lui claimed that the new six again rule isn’t to blame for the result, but they need to do a better job of controlling the ruck none the less.
“Their play the balls were too quick and made it too hard for us to get back on side and get the line speed up so yeah we really need to be better than that”.
Backing coach Ricky Stuarts' criticism of their poor defensive effort, Lui said they made it harder on themselves.
“We had a defensive game plan but we didn’t pull it off and we weren’t good enough to change that around”.
Canberra face the Tigers next week and both men think they’ll be fired up off the back of their loss to the Titans which came in the 78th minute of play.
"They'll be looking to bounce back, knowing Madge [Michael Maguire] and the way he is, he'll be getting the boys ready mentally and physically.
Like I said before around our ruck area we’re going to have to really tighten that up and it comes down to the choices that we need to make first and foremost,” Soliola said.