Golden opportunities await NRL's Raiders

·2-min read

If Canberra are to break into the NRL's top eight, they'll have avoid slipping into an old, potentially destructive habit - losing the games they're expected to win.

Heading into a season-defining block where the 11th-ranked Raiders will face bottom-eight teams in four of their next five encounters, they simply must take full advantage of the favourable fixturing if they're to overturn their one-game gap to eighth.

Forward Corey Harawira-Naera admitted winning those games wouldn't just be about cementing a finals berth, but proving the side had taken a true step forward.

"We can be a bit guilty of the games we're meant to win, we don't," he told reporters.

"That's when we start getting ahead of ourselves ... I hate saying cliches but at the end of the day it does come back to the way we get out on the field and the intensity we play at.

"It's something we need to address and something that we do talk about ... we feel our form compared to the first month and a half of the season is a lot better now, but we're still not getting the wins that we want to."

First, they'll have to address a poor second-half record that's seen them held tryless in eight of 14 games this season.

"We spoke about it at halftime, it was quite disappointing the way we came out," Harawira-Naera said.

"We let them straight back into the game and then the whole second half we were chasing points, throwing the ball around a bit more than we probably did in the first half.

"We got away from our structures, but it's something we need to address definitely."

But the clear positive for the Raiders is their elite forward pack, which had clearly shown itself to be among the NRL's best on recent form

"It's funny, we don't really look at too much stuff in the media and whatnot, but at the start of the year they rated our forward pack as quite low," forward Ryan Sutton told reporters.

"We took that a bit personal as a forward pack and we wanted to make sure that we weren't where people said we were.

"Now with 'Taps' (Joe Tapine) and 'Paps' (Josh Papali'i) doing what they're doing, Adam Elliott and then the boys going off the bench, I think it's given us a nice little kick up the arse."

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