Eels late comeback falls just short yet again

Joel Thompson

This game had everything. Brilliant tries from young, classy players. Poor defensive lapses from tired forwards. And one other thing. A sense of deja vu.

Eels fans will clearly remember the game against the Tigers, where they scored 30 points in just over 13 minutes, only to narrowly lose the game.

Well, it has happened again. The Eels mounted a spirited fightback against the Canberra Raiders, but they just could not win the game in the end – with coach Stephen Kearney positive that the side is headed in the right direction, and that he can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I hope they view it in a similar way to me,” he said.

“I’m disappointed and frustrated, but again what I asked from the lads at halftime was for some fight and some pride in our jumper.

“And for the most part, they came in and showed that. They didn’t give in.”

Kearney, who is also the coach of the New Zealand national side, says that he has no plans to relinquish either positon nor give in – describing this rough patch with the Eels as the toughest of his life.

“Trust me, I think everyone involved with the footy club is glad we’ve put a real rough week behind us,” Kearney said.

“There’s no doubt it’s been the toughest challenge in all my career.

“But I’m very aware of where we’re going and sometimes it can look pretty hazy, but I’m very clear on where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.

“I’m not going to take my focus from what’s important for this footy club.”

Kearney himself commented on the seemingly known factor, that is deja vu.

“It seems very familiar,” Kearney said.

“I suppose there’s some link there, which is a worry.

“But like I said to the lads in the changerooms, there’s no consolation out of today.

“Until we start taking ownership of those lapses, there’s a consequence.”

They may have won the game, but despite being happy with the two points, Raiders coach David Furner was not pleased with his side’s overall defence.

“Just getting the two points I’m happy with that, but basically I’m only happy with 60 minutes,” he said post-match.

Despite the victory, the Raiders suffered a blow, with young second-rower Josh Papalii set to miss a good portion of weeks, after suffering a fractured forearm.

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