Resilient Raiders must improve: Stuart
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has warned a repeat second-half effort like the one produced against the Penrith Panthers on Saturday night will only end in tears in Melbourne next weekend.
The Raiders' 10-point win saw the club clinch their first preliminary final berth in a united competition in over two decades, with the Green Machine now set to face the Storm at AAMI Park for a place in the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final.
Canberra surrendered their 18-point lead midway through the second half by allowing Penrith to get within a converted try following Tyrone Peachey and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak's try-scoring efforts.
The bulk of the Raiders' 11 errors came within this period and Stuart said the Storm will quickly end their season if they play like it again next Saturday night.
"We made it so much more difficult on ourselves by being too arrogant with the football. If we play like that against Melbourne, we'll get touched up," Stuart said.
"We were playing as if we were 40-up and we didn't complete. We had some really important sets coming out of our end, and I know it sounds like a coaching cliché, but if we completed them we could've had more of a flow on.
"Melbourne are ruthless and take advantage of teams making poor fundamental errors as we did [against Penrith]. You can't do it against any team, let alone Melbourne in Melbourne."
Veteran lock Sia Soliola said his side's second half struggles were a matter of his Raiders "shooting themselves in the foot".
"When we were behind the try-line a couple of times, we didn't want to take anything away from Penrith, so all the talk was about us shooting ourselves in the foot," Soliola told NRL.com.
"It's always been something we have spoken about because sometimes we're our own worst enemy. We've identified that and the great thing is we know how to fix it now.
"Once we managed to get a fair share of possession, held on to the football and stopped panicking, we showed we could actually still score points."
Stuart was otherwise overwhelmed by the resiliency of his young side and spoke of how the Raiders' last-start loss to the Sharks could prove vital in the long run.
"Every minute of semi-final football and every minute of big-game experience is valuable. You can't get that experience anywhere else," Stuart said.
"It was very helpful for our future, this game. Not just this week but our future moving forward.
"We’ve had belief in ourselves all season. It's given us extraordinary resilience against some tough situations we’ve found ourselves in," he added.
"I'm very proud of the way they have stuck by one another."
Game on. Data off.
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