Raiders to put pride on the line
It's not the motivation any side wants in Round 26 but Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson says pride and not the chance to claim a final big scalp will be the driving force when Canberra close out their 2017 season against the Storm in Melbourne on Saturday night.
A 46-28 win over the Knights last week kept Canberra's faint finals hopes alive but they were extinguished in the most dramatic of fashions, the Sea Eagles kicking two field goals to defeat the Warriors and the Dragons beating the Panthers to escape the Raiders' reach.
There is no more daunting prospect at present than playing a rampant Storm team on their home turf a week out from the finals but Hodgson said personal pride and not any kind of redemption will be Canberra's primary motivator.
"We're all proud men and we're a proud club and we want to finish strongly," Hodgson said.
"We're pretty disappointed at how we've played this year and where we've finished up in the league. We obviously want to try and get any kind of respect and pride back that we can.
"Going down to Melbourne and finishing the year really strongly could be a good thing for us.
"We don't want to go away thinking we didn't put our best foot forward again and be even more disappointed at the finish to the season.
"We're more doing it for our own reasons. They're coming top no matter the result so we're just doing it for our own reasons and our own pride and sense of wanting to finish this season off with a win.
"You want to play against the best teams and Melbourne have been the most consistent team all year.
"They're coming top and they're going to finish top and they're probably tipped to win it.
"It would be nice to go down there, playing a strong side and get a result."
The Raiders' plus-87 points differential is better than six of the teams in the top eight with a game to play, highlighting the narrow margins of many of their losses in 2017.
Seven of their 12 defeats have been by six points or less, three of which have been in golden point extra time including two golden-point losses to the Sea Eagles who sit four points ahead of them on the table.
Admitting that the narrow losses will be what the Raiders rue when the post-season review begins, Hodgson said it was important they understood how to turn those narrow losses into wins next season.
"We've had too many close losses this year and that's no secret," said Hodgson. "That's something that we certainly need to fix up.
"If we were to steal even half of those we would have been in the eight so that's pretty disappointing and something that's going to be brought up and looked at.
"It's pretty tough to think about. I'm a sore loser so I'm terrible for thinking on it and dwelling on it but it is tough to think, the amount of close ones that have just skipped away from us.
"If they'd have gone our way then we might have been in the mix.
"One thing that we're pretty good at is people speaking up and being accountable of their own actions.
"We'll look at this season and areas in which we've probably improved on in the past few weeks but where we probably took a bit too long to improve on and why it took so long. Areas that worked for us and areas that didn't work for us."