Raiders blow golden finals chance with collapse

2 months ago 10
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Canberra has let a gilt-edged opportunity to squeeze itself into the top eight go begging after blowing a double-digit lead against a Tom Trbojevic-less Manly side.

Coming into the match in ninth position on the ladder, Ricky Stuart's side could have leapfrogged the eighth-placed Gold Coast Titans with a win, but were overrun in the second half as the Sea Eagles held on for a 19-18 win at Suncorp Stadium.

With the Sea Eagles leading by six points, a Daly Cherry-Evans field goal looked to have sealed the match in the 78th minute before a grandstand finish.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scored Canberra's first points of the second half with a try in the 79th minute, which was converted by Jordan Rapana.

With Tom Trbojevic sidelined, Manly's other experienced campaigners stood up in the second half (Getty)

Clinging onto a one-point lead, the Sea Eagles kicked off with just 23 seconds left on the clock and were given a major scare when Josh Schuster was sent off for holding in a tackle, giving Canberra one more play.

However, the much-anticipated final play that followed was an anti-climax as Rapana scuffed his two-point field goal attempt after the hooter as the Sea Eagles held on.

It is a massive missed opportunity for the Raiders, particularly with the Titans having lost to the Storm on Thursday night, prior to Canberra's Round 23 clash.

After coughing up a 12-0 half-time lead, it was the seventh separate occasion that Stuart's side gave up a double-digit lead in a match this season.

The Raiders were left to rue what could have been after letting yet another double-digit lead result in a loss (Getty)

The win was also a massive boost for Manly, who are attempting to shake the view that they are a one-man team that is unable to grind out results when Trbojevic is not in the line-up.

Manly came out of the main break with all guns blazing, with tries to Haumole Olakau'atu (42nd minute), Morgan Harper (57) and Curtis Sironen (63) flipping the match on its head.

Manly moved up into fourth spot on the ladder with the win, although it could slide back down to fifth if the Roosters overcome the Dragons on Sunday.

The loss means the Raiders must win both of their final two matches of the season against the NZ Warriors and Roosters, while hoping other results go their way if they are to make the finals.

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