The Wests Tigers have come under fire over their dismal display against Canberra on Sunday after they were wiped off the park in front of their home fans at Leichhardt.
The Raiders rubber stamped their return to the NRL finals in style by smashing a woeful Tigers side 56-10.
'DISGRACE': Phil Gould lashes out over NRL 'embarrassment'
The victory in front of 10,041 fans ensures the Raiders, who missed the finals last season, finish eighth and set up an elimination final showdown in Melbourne on Saturday.
However much of the post-match talk was about the Tigers, with their display at home branded 'pathetic' and 'disgraceful'.
They finish the year with the wooden spoon for the first time in their history and have managed just one win since sacking Michael Maguire as coach in May.
Captain James Tamou said that after every loss the dressing room had been a scene of "devastation".
The Tigers were booed off at half-time on Sunday when they trailed 42-0 and it will take more than the return of 71-year-old Tim Sheens as head coach for them to resemble anything like a finals contender.
"It's absolutely pathetic"
The Fox team is VERY unimpressed with the Tigers' first-half performance 😬
📺 Watch #NRLTigersRaiders on ch. 502 or stream on Kayo: https://t.co/B1ijnHf4i8
✍️ BLOG https://t.co/z217LKP3lZ
🔢 MATCH CENTRE https://t.co/craBZLXd7P pic.twitter.com/xi5XX6tGMj
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) September 4, 2022
"At one of our home venues it was important to play well but it was a really poor first half," said interim coach Brett Kimmorley.
"It could've been extremely ugly if it had've stayed on that path
"It doesn't change the full-time result, but 16-10 in the second half was a better outcome than what it could've potentially got to, which would've been very dark and very bad for the club."
This game deserves to be called at halftime. #NRLTigersRaiders
— Fraser Barton (@FraserBartonAAP) September 4, 2022
— Bernie Coen (@berniecoen) September 4, 2022
Oh man, Wests Tigers playing like a team who left for Bali three weeks ago...#NRLTigersRaiders
— Brett McKay (@BMcSport) September 4, 2022
Tigers players are a disgrace, seriously. All these fans turned up to support them and they have given up and don't give a damn. #NRLTigersRaiders
— Rewster (@Rewster7) September 4, 2022
Defence is attitude and Wests Tigers attitude sucks. Say what you want about club management, but these players aren’t even trying. What a pathetic show for the fans of the team #NRLTigersRaiders
— Brenden (@brendenfingers) September 4, 2022
The Wests Tigers are just pathetic aren’t they. These players are just a disgrace #NRLTigersRaiders
— 💖🦄Stacey🦄💖 (@TinkerTigerBell) September 4, 2022
— Andrew Davies (@Sharkandy72) September 4, 2022
Raiders return to NRL finals in style
Canberra, who had nine try-scorers on Sunday, go to Melbourne knowing they have beaten the Storm at AAMI Park on four successive visits since 2019.
Ricky Stuart opted to rest Jack Wighton and Elliott Whitehead, but even accounting for the absence of their star five-eighth and captain, the Raiders were too strong for Wests.
Every single member of the Raiders starting backline - Xavier Savage, Nick Cotric, Matt Timoko, Seb Kris and Jordan Rapana - managed to cross before half-time, while second-rower Hudson Young and halfback Jamal Fogarty rounded out the first-half rout.
The Raiders fell six points short of the NRL's record first-half margin, set by Newcastle against North Queensland in 2003, with the Tigers jeered off the field at the break.
Fogarty, who converted all seven goals in the first half, was given an early mark by Stuart ahead of a bruising encounter with Melbourne.
"We're in good form and the players are full of belief and confidence," Stuart said.
"They are difficult games to play when you know what's coming next week but the senior players have been a massive help to me as a coach."
Canberra looked long odds to make the top eight midway through the year, but have been able to string seven wins from their last eight games to force their way into the top eight and knock out Brisbane in the process.
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