Raiders keep finals hopes alive

The Canberra Raiders have kept their slim final hopes alive with a shock 32-16 win over leaders St George at Canberra Stadium.

The Raiders clearly have the edge over the Dragons, having won 10 of the last 11 matches played between the two teams at all venues.

It was the Dragons gutsy efforts on their own goal-line that denied the Raiders any tries in the first-half but that defence seemed to capitulate as the Dragons let in 6 tries in the second half, resulting in their loss.

The Raiders chances of making the 8 have drastically improved with the Rabbitohs, Warriors and Eels, all of which are fringe top 8 teams, all losing their respective games this week.

St George coach Wayne Bennett did admit that his side clearly have a problem in winning in the nation’s capital and praised the Raiders for their brilliant display of football.

Bennett was also critical about the fact that he remains unconcerned about a possible repeat of 2010 that saw the Dragons knocked out in the 2nd week of the finals, thus resulting in their ‘chokers’ tag.

“It’s more about ourselves and there’s something why we can’t play too well here. Last year we kind of threw it away and I felt today we did the same thing,” Bennett said.

“I expected a flat spot … we’ve been on our game and we’ve tried extremely hard … so we were just a little bit off the pace but that’s not taking away from Canberra, they just played extremely well and they’re an extremely good football team.”

Despite the Dragons taking the lead early on through Josh Morris, it was the Raiders perseverance and superior field position that ultimately, enabled them to score points. At one stage, the Raiders completed an astonishing 14 sets of six in a row.

Man of the match David Shillington was pleased with his team’s performance and stressed the importance of remaining level-headed with two crucial matches to come for the Raiders.

“There was a huge amount of hype building up to this game so everyone would have spent a lot of energy during the week preparing right for it and in the game itself too,” said man-of-the-match David Shillington.

“So I think it’s important we have a couple of days rest and down time and then come Wednesday or Thursday, start firing back up again otherwise we might start a bit flat next week against the Cowboys.”

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