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18 Mar 2018 20:50
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Raiders stay in NRL title hunt with win

    Canberra have defeated the Warriors 36-16 in Auckland on Sunday, keeping their NRL finals hopes alive for now.

    - article from

    Stephen Kearney
    Stephen Kearney

    Canberra boss Ricky Stuart lauded his players' focus after they kept their slim NRL final hopes alive in a 36-16 victory over the hapless Warriors.

    Hammered left, right and centre for a listless display in last week's loss to bottom-placed Newcastle, the Warriors looked far more energetic and motivated on their home patch but blundered at key moments to suffer their sixth straight NRL defeat.

    They stayed in the hunt until the 60th minute, when - down 18-10 - tries to Raiders right-edge duo Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana killed off the contest.

    Backing up solid wins over the Rabbitohs and Sharks, Canberra's 20-point - six tries to three - victory keeps them within four points of the eighth-placed Cowboys.

    However they must win their final three matches against Penrith, Newcastle and minor premiers Melbourne to have a chance to sneak into the top eight.

    Stuart praised his troops for blocking out the noise surrounding the Warriors' abysmal form and said the scoreline didn't reflect the difficulty of the match.

    "If we didn't prepare to come over here and play a footy team that's under a fair bit of scrutiny - some individuals who have been singled out - and if we didn't prepare to play a tough team, we would've been beaten," Stuart said.

    "We're just slowly creeping up on what we need to get to.

    "We've got a really tough finish but we can only do what we're doing."

    The Warriors (7-14) have little to look forward to this season - and news that incumbent owner Eric Watson may sell the club signals changes are afoot in Auckland.

    The Stephen Kearney-coached side turned the screw in the second stanza with repeat sets of six - but, barring a well-worked Roger Tuivasa-Sheck try down the left edge, the Warriors couldn't break through and were duly punished.

    Kearney said the absence of first team regulars including Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran was no excuse for his side's largest loss of the year.

    "The team that goes out there is representing us, they understand what they have to do. Some of them are not doing it, some of them are doing it for parts of the game and not other parts, (and) that's about that consistency," Kearney said.

    "Around 60 minutes, we'd completed the first 10 sets of the half and then made a number of errors back to back and just didn't show enough resilience."

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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