Raiders dare to dream
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has vowed to come away from next week's trip to Melbourne with a win after his side claimed a crucial 46-28 victory over the Knights in a highly-entertaining clash in the nation's capital.
Needing a win to stay in the hunt for a finals berth, the Raiders exploded out of the blocks with two tries in the opening six minutes and continued to pile on the points when they had to against a Newcastle side that was simply playing for pride.
Friday's result was a non-negotiable for the Green Machine as they attempt to steal a spot in the top eight despite what's been a largely underwhelming campaign for one of the pre-season fancies.
Their fate is out of their control and wasn't helped by the Cowboys who sealed a spot in the finals with a win over the Tigers on Friday night. The equation remains simple for Canberra; win next week against the table-topping Storm and hope the Sea Eagles and Dragons keep losing.
"We'll be fine for the Storm. Whether we're playing for our lives or not, we'll go down there to win," Stuart said after the game.
It could have been easy for the Raiders to drop their heads against their bogey side after they blew a golden opportunity to stay in touch with the eight with another narrow loss to the Panthers at home last week.
With so much to play for, Canberra fell behind early and went into the sheds trailing 20-10 before they mounted a stirring second-half comeback, only to be run down by a late Tyrone May try.
There was no chance of history repeating at GIO Stadium and the Raiders effectively killed off the contest with two quick tries which allowed them to dictate terms for the rest of the evening.
"I'm really happy with a short turnaround after being disappointed last week that the players did a good job getting up mentally for the challenge tonight," Stuart continued.
"It was always going to be a challenge so it was nice to be able to finish off for our home crowd a game of football they enjoy watching us play.
"It was a lot different to last week. We started the game completely opposite to what we did last week which was a big difference.
"The games that we've been winning over the last month, we've been starting quite well. I don't want to go over too much old news but we were disappointed last week with the way that we started the game and it was a big focus this week."