It was probably a game that the Canberra Raiders wanted to win to keep their faint finals hopes alive but it was not to be, as a Braith Anasta field goal ended up being the difference.
With a lot of the spotlight on the young, emerging half in Luke Brooks, it was the veteran who took matters into his own hand and slotted a field goal with 10 minutes on the clock. It proved to be the match-winner.
In a game where both sides enjoyed prolonged periods of attacking play, it was ultimately the defensive side that shone through for both the Tigers and the Raiders.
Both teams dug deep and fought hard but it was the Tigers who were forced to dig deeper with James Tedesco, Tim Simona, David Nofoaluma and Sauaso Sue all leaving the field at some stage.
Nofoaluma was brave enough to return but the other three were not so lucky. The injury issues continue for the talented James Tedesco, who broke his kneecap and faces the prospect of missing around 3 months of footy.
As for Tim Simona, he left the field due to concussion. Sauaso Sue left due to a shoulder injury and Nofoaluma suffered a knee injury but later returned.
The Raiders were not without an injury of their own, though, with centre Jack Wighton breaking his thumb.
The heart and character of the side made Tigers captain Robbie Farah proud and considering the Tigers had to play with 14 men at one point, he was proud to get the win.
“Yeah, considering the circumstances, mate – definitely,” said Farah.
“First tackle of the game – Teddy, poor kid.”
“Simona, Nofoaluma and I think Jesse Sue played busted the whole second half and so for him to stay out there, it’s as gutsy as they get.”
Once a coach under pressure, Mick Potter is now getting the results and knows how important this win was for the players.
“They’re playing as a team and nearly want to die for one another,” said Potter.
“Today, the character shown, I don’t think I’ve seen better.”
Potter knows that the talented fullback will bounce back.
“He’s a great kid and he does his rehab really well,” said Potter.
“He’s suffered a little bit of adversity, so he knows how to come back. He’ll bounce back.”
As for the Raiders, coach Ricky Stuart was disappointed with the narrow loss and knows they should have done better to put the game to bed.
“Under those conditions, we should have put them away in the second half but we just weren’t good enough,” said Stuart.
“You can’t dodge around the truth. We should have won tonight.
“They had injury after injury after injury and if we honestly think we’re a first-grade football team, we should have won.”
3. Braith Anasta
2. Josh Papalii
1. Blake Austin