You wouldn’t think it could happen again to the Canberra Raiders, and then yet, somehow it does.
Another halftime lead, another loss, and another week left searching for answers.
Canberra were up 20-12 at halftime with the only try of the second half coming just after the hour mark via Euan Aitken, to cut the lead to two.
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A penalty that came via the bunker that allowed Reece Walsh to slot a game-tying two-pointer in the final minute was contentious, but there was no doubt about Shaun Johnson’s game-winner on the Warriors’ first set of extra time, after a marginally-called forward pass from Tom Starling gifted them brilliant field position.
“I don’t feel like we had a right to win that game tonight,” Walsh said afterwards.
“We were pretty poor and I feel like we’ve got to come back with a better attitude than we did today.”
But entitlement be damned, the Warriors would have taken a win today regardless of how it came after last week’s 60-point shellacking at the hands of the Melbourne Storm.
Walsh has a point though – the Warriors completed just 58 per cent of their sets, trailed at halftime and only got to golden point via that aforementioned penalty incident.
But with the Raiders failing to score a point in the second half for the fifth time this year, serious questions have to start being asked of a team that came into pre-season with plenty of confidence.
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Ricky Stuart’s team changes once again failed to spark any life into a flat attack, and the decision to bench Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad ended in the No.14 not getting onto the field at all.
Canberra will get a home game against the Bulldogs next, with a great chance to get back on track – if they lose that, then conversations about the wooden spoon might become much more real than speculative.
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