Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said a poor 15-minute defensive period cost his team dearly against the Storm on Thursday night, and didn't have any problem with the decision to send Corey Harawira-Naera off for a high shot late in the match.
Harawira-Naera was sent off with four minutes remaining after connecting with the head of Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes, when Melbourne held a six-point lead. The Storm went on to clinch a 26-16 win.
"If he's hit him in the head, yeah [it was a fair send-off]," Stuart said.
"But it's not in Corey's make-up to go out and try and hurt someone like that.
"It's a collision game and he's come in very fast, and obviously if he has hit him in the head – obviously the young bloke [Hughes] was taken off – but it wouldn't have been something he would've went out to try to do."
Stuart won't call back loan players this week
For Canberra, winger Bailey Simonsson scored his first career hat-trick in his return to the field after a five-week layoff for a toe injury, while Jack Wighton had a standout performance with three try assists.
"He got back into the Jack Wighton mould of playing," Stuart said of his star five-eighth.
"He started it last week, he was probably two or touches away from being brilliant last week. This week, they came off."
Match Highlights: Storm v Raiders
The result means Canberra are set to drop out of the NRL top eight at the end of the round after the ninth-placed Knights take on the 10th-placed Sharks.
"There was a 15-minute period in the first half when they went through some really poor defence. Our defence in that 15-minute period was really disappointing," Stuart said.
"Then there were some end of sets and there were some basic fundamentals in the second half that we didn't finish off. You can't do that against good teams.
"But their effort was always there, and we were in that right to the back end. The way they came back was wonderful – it was a very determined, committed football team that came back into the game.
"But when you crucify yourself with just some poor execution in the second half and some poor defence in the first half, it makes it too hard."