The Canberra Raiders have suffered a heartbreaking 18-19 loss to the Manly Sea Eagles on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.
The men in green showed immense camaraderie in the first half with their defence keeping the Sea Eagles to nil as they took control of the game, but a second half effort by the Sea Eagles was too strong to beat.
Energy was high in the opening half for the Raiders as they battled for field position against the Sea Eagles. It was a ball strip by Joe Tapine in the 11th minute that gave the Raiders their first chance to attack the line.
Capitalising on their momentum, right centre Matthew Timoko gave Raiders the opening points of the match with a flick pass to his winger Harley Smith-Shields who dove for the corner to get the first try. The Raiders led 4-0 12 minutes into the match.
In the 17th minute the Raiders looked to overturn a knock-on call on Hudson Young, but unfortunately, it was unsuccessful, giving the Sea Eagles a chance to attack the line.
A short ball by Sea Eagles half Daly Cherry-Evans looked to see Haumole Olakau’atu get the first try, but an obstruction penalty was called saving the men in green.
The Raiders gained an offside penalty in the 26th minute just 20 metres out from the line. Opting to take the penalty goal, Sam Williams stepped up and was able to secure another two points, but only just, as the ball hit the upright to get over.
A mistake by the Sea Eagles just metres out from their own line saw the Raiders get another chance to get points on the board.
Quick hands from Sam Williams to Jack Wighton found Bailey Simonsson open on the wing to get the Raiders second try of the evening.
An impressive conversion from the sideline by Williams saw the Raiders lead 12-0 with just six minutes remaining in the first half.
The Sea Eagles came out firing in the second half getting their first points of the night just three minutes into the half after Haumole Olakau’atu to make it 6-12 tightening the contest.
In the 57th minute the Sea Eagles were able to score on their right edge through Morgan Harper, and a successful conversion saw them tie up the score 12-all.
Just minutes later, the Sea Eagles were on the attack again, forcing an in-goal dropout from the Raiders.
In the 64th minute the Sea Eagles were able to go over again through Curtis Sironen giving them an 18-12 lead.
Sea Eagles halfback Daly Cherry-Evans kicked a field goal to give them an extra point advantage making it 19-12 with just minutes remaining.
But with a minute to go Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was able to dive over in his first game back since round five to give the Raiders slight hope.
When the Sea Eagles were penalised from the kick-off the Raiders had one last shot, but Jordan Rapana was unable to kick the two point field goal, with the Raiders finishing the game with a 19-18 defeat to the Sea Eagles.