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Wests Tigers Thomas Mikaele and Matt Eisenhuth.

A despondent Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has called on his side to "harden up" after seeing another golden chance for victory lip through their fingers against Canberra on Saturday.

Down 20-6 at half-time, the Tigers were able to keep the Raiders scoreless in the second half but never really threatened to blow the game open as they went down 20-12 at GIO Stadium.

Desperate defence by Canberra did the job when it was called upon, but Maguire found very little to be happy with as the Tigers face the prospect of needing to win five of their last seven to have a chance of playing finals.

"We've got to be a lot harder as a team, simple as that," Maguire said.

"I thought our defence at the start of the game was poor and we've been talking about patches of form over the last couple of months and it seems to be a recurring theme with this team at the moment.

Match Highlights: Raiders v Wests Tigers

"I'm pretty annoyed with having to be in that situation, we shouldn't be in that situation and if we're going to change as a club and as a playing group we need to harden up."

The game threatened to get away from the Tigers early, with the Raiders scoring twice inside the first nine minutes through Dunamis Lui and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

Despite having most of the possession for large periods after the break and being the first side to score when David Nofoaluma scored in the 42nd minute, that was as close as the away side would get to the upset victory.

"A couple of soft tries at the start, I don't normally talk about the team externally, but I'm really annoyed and disappointed with where we are at this present moment," Maguire said.

Marshall, Nofoaluma combine to spark Wests Tigers

"We should have been in a way better position in that game.

"There patches in that game we showed what we could do and then we lapse and that comes back to the characters we have at this club."

Wests Tigers did suffer the blow of losing Matthew Eisenhuth and Thomas Mikaele to a HIA test just before the break.

Mikaele failed to return but Maguire said his side has to be good enough to deal with those types of disruptions.

"They've got to look in the mirror and find it, it's pretty simple," he said.

"I've come to the club to change it, and I want to see it change.

"I have seen some really good stuff since I've been here, and we've got bit of a habit where we give games away and it's not acceptable.

Rapana dives for the corner

"We all need to make the change as a playing group, as a coaching staff and as a club, we need to make the change."

The back five of the Tigers got through plenty of work, all running for more than 100 metres, while only two forwards hit the century mark.

Wests Tigers now face an equally desperate Newcastle side who will be stinging off the back of a 48-10 thrashing at the hands of the Sydney Roosters.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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