Raiders learning from tough losses
Raiders halfback Sam Williams says his side can take plenty of confidence out of their golden point victory over the Eels on Sunday afternoon.
After his side conceded five home losses by two points or less, their seventh victory on the road this year was especially sweet for Williams.
"We spoke about how we need to learn from some of those losses," the classy halfback said.
"We'd liked to think the way we finished the season, the way we closed the game out there today in difficult circumstances we can take a bit of confidence from that and hopefully it can help us for next year."
His sentiments were echoed by coach Ricky Stuart, who said all their heartbreaking losses this season allowed his side to finish stronger over Parramatta.
"That character we displayed there in the last eight minutes of that game with 12 men, is through probably those hardships of this year," Stuart said.
"You build character through adversity and you either come out without it or you come out the other end with a good culture and that's what we're starting to build here through tough times that we've had to face this year."
Williams was overjoyed as Jarrod Croker nailed his sideline conversion to send the game into golden point in the 80th minute, racing to his skipper to celebrate a pressure kick.
After the match he had nothing but praise for the point-scoring genius who claimed the NRL's top point scoring honours with his 16 against the Eels.
"For our skipper to do it as well he puts a lot into this team and plays with a lot of pride so it was just really good for him to finish that because there's been a lot of times this year where his goal kicking has been the difference for us," Williams said.
"Once again today proved how important a good goal kicker is and how well he [Croker] can perform under pressure."
The 24-year-old from Cooma will face an interesting 2016 pre-season with the arrival of Aidan Sezer to the club over the summer.
But Williams said the positional battle will only be good for the club.
"It's really good [that he's coming], it's great for the club, he's a quality player," he said.
"Blake [Austin] had a great year as well so it's really exciting to be able to work with him, learn off each other and push each other because that's what it comes down to because we need to push each other and make sure we're all improving."
Williams said the absence of the dynamic Austin didn't have a huge impact on his game personally.
"It didn't change my role too much, obviously Blake, what he does a lot of that's individual brilliance, he's a really good ball runner so I tried not to change too much," he said.
"I thought Mitchy came in and did a really good job as well, he offered a bit more in the kicking game so he helped out as well so there's a lot of positives."