Sea Eagles grind out gutsy win in the nation’s capital.
The Canberra Raiders week went from back to worse after suffering a 36-22 defeat at the hands of the Manly Sea Eagles at Canberra Stadium.
Just days after coach David Furner was sensationally sacked after four years at the helm, the Raiders faced a must-win game if they were to keep their slim finals chances alive.
However, they ran into a determined Manly outfit who were keen to lock up a top-four finish as they look to put their hat into the ring as a premiership contender.
With the 14-point loss, Canberra find themselves outside of the top eight on percentages and must win their final two games against New Zealand (away) and Cronulla (home) to give themselves every chance of playing in the post-season.
The fact Canberra was able to only lost by 14 was at one point a miracle, after Manly raced out to a 34-0 lead after just 30 minutes.
With the real chance of a demolition as the Raiders’ defence looked weak and the high-octane attack of the Sea Eagles made the most of every chance handed to them.
Jame Lyon scored a double in the first 40 minutes off the back off good lead-up work from Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran.
The home side finally got on the board when they crossed in the 37th minute when they made the most of a sin-bin to Steve Matai, as they played the numbers game in attack to see Joel Thompson cross.
Milford landed a booming 40-20 kick in the opening minutes after the break and from the scrum Reece Robinson sliced through to make it 24-12.
Ballin put Anthony Watmough over for another soft try to make it 30-12 in the 53rd minute.
To their credit the Raiders second half effort was a long way ahead of what they dished out early in the game.
Sami Sauiluma’s try in the 64th minute pulled the margin back to 30-16 before Jorge Taufua pushed it out to 36-16 before Milford scored a dazzling late try to make it 36-22 at fulltime.
With Manly winning seven out of their past eight games they loom as a darkhorse for the competition this season out side of South Sydney and the Sydney Roosters, and they will look to keep that momentum when they play the in-form Melbourne Storm in round 25.