Raiders beat themselves: Stuart
Dejected Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said his team were their own worst enemy in the aftermath of their 16-12 golden point loss to the Dragons on Thursday night.
An intercepted Jack Wighton pass by Euan Aitken after the half-time buzzer in extra time wasn't the only instance the Raiders shot themselves in the foot – but it certainly was the most telling.
The Raiders only had themselves to blame particularly in the first half considering they bombed at least four opportunities in good field territory.
Joey Leilua dropping the ball over the line in the eighth minute and Josh Hodgson running behind Luke Bateman late in the first 40 were two crucial opportunities which went by the wayside for the Raiders.
Throw in the Green Machine's 15 errors compared to the Dragons' four and it's amazing to think the Raiders pegged back an 8-0 deficit after 55 minutes to send the game into extra time.
"We did a wonderful job to get back into the game without playing our best," Stuart said.
"There were some individual performances out there which were amazing and helped us get back into the contest but we beat ourselves again.
"As a coach I have to look at the positives. I can't just be negative because we have to keep growing in becoming better but the amount of games we have lost by beating ourselves is just very, very frustrating."
Some of those positives for Stuart came in the form of the Raiders' defensive resolve.
Canberra were forced into a further 116 tackles than the Dragons – a whopping 19 extra sets – and conceded just three tries in 85 minutes.
"You have to give St George credit, they didn't make many errors at all. I don't think they made any in the second half and there were a lot of 50-50 calls we weren't getting," Stuart said.
"Not that they were right or wrong but it was a night where we couldn't get the bounce of the ball. We didn't have any flow and we had no momentum.
"Defensively we were superb considering the amount of work we had to do and their completion rate but it doesn't change the situation."
Their four-point loss was also a night where skipper Jarrod Croker became the Raiders' all-time leading pointscorer (1224 points). 25-year-old Croker surpassed David Furner's long-standing record with an eight-point haul against the Dragons.
"It's a shame we can't appreciate it more because we're all so dejected now and disappointed with how the game ended," Stuart said.
"For a guy to reach that achievement in such an early part of his career is a great credit because he has many, many years to come.
"It's a lovely achievement and Jarrod knows how much we appreciate what he does. We don't take him for granted."