Rugby league great Brad Fittler has savaged Canberra, accusing them of being "weak" following their loss to a depleted North Queensland which all but sealed their NRL season.
The Raiders are facing having to win six of their final eight games to make a second successive finals series after seemingly going backwards in 2017.
After getting to within one game of the grand final last year, the Raiders have wilted under pressure to be three wins outside the top eight.
This year they have lost six games by six points or less, and had they won all of those matches they would be in second spot after 17 rounds.
"They're talented and everyone banked on them getting better. But it shows they've got no control, they're weak," Fittler told Nine Network's The Sunday Footy Show.
"When it gets tough, they choose another way to get out, they don't grind it.
"I think everyone hopes for them so much because they play such good footy."
NSW great and Immortal Andrew Johns said halfback Aidan Sezer was failing to control matches like he had last year.
The Raiders' game management has been poor and they are ranked second last for forced drop-outs (1.1 per game) and fourth last for tackles in the opposition 20-metre zone (23.7 per game).
Even with the Cowboys missing Johnathan Thurston, the Raiders failed to get into the grind in their 31-18 loss in sub-zero temperatures at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.
"I don't think he's playing with enough control," Johns said.
"They just seem to be wanting to trick shot all the time and blow teams away without building it."