Ricky Stuart declares Canberra Raiders have ‘turned a corner’ after upset win over Parramatta Eels, scores, results, highlights
Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has declared his side has “turned a corner” after holding on for a last-gasp win over the Parramatta Eels in a thrilling finish.
After scoring the first two tries of the match early in the second half, Stuart’s men were forced to defend for their lives on the final play, with a stunning try-saving effort from Jordan Rapana denying Eels flyer Maika Sivo the game-winner in the 80th minute.
The win lifted the Raiders, who are 3-0 in their last three weeks into the top eight, keeping their hopes of making the finals alive.
Following his side’s thrilling win, Stuart paid tribute to his players for the “grit and want” they displayed throughout the contest against a more fancied opponent.
“If any young kid is looking to be a Raider, as I’ve known forever supporting the Canberra Raiders as a young boy, that’s always been in the jumper, that type of grit, that type of want to win,” he said.
“Some games it’s missing and you’ve got to work hard as the coach to get it, that’s why I get upset when we lose because I know what these blokes have got underneath the jumper.
“It’s why I love coaching them. You see wins tonight like that, that’s just pure grit and want.
“They never cease to amaze me or surprise me these blokes. Over the last two years now we have just been hit with injuries and some luck that we just can’t control and we just keep getting back up and we just keep punching.
“There was some outstanding examples there right across the park tonight on individual effort.”
Despite suggestions that Rapana may have fouled Sivo on the final play, Stuart backed the NRL Bunker’s call, declaring that there was “no way that was a foul, [Rapana] hit [Sivo] with his hip”.
Stuart admitted that he had told his charges to up their intensity in the lead-up to the clash against Parramatta, stating that he and his players “want to be the team that is [in the NRL hub] for the longest”.
The 54-year-old lamented his side’s lack of luck this season, but was bullish about what the Raiders could produce in the post-season.
“Yeah, if we don’t get anymore bad luck [we can finish the season well],” he said.
“Luck in life is everything, business, sport, you need some luck, and we haven’t had much this year.
“Then all of a sudden we get frustrated with losing because we know we’ve got that [performance] in us, it’s easy to get frustrated when you know you’ve got that.
“I’ve coached footy teams before where you’re not good enough and I never get upset or disappointed with the boys when I don’t think we’re good enough to beat the opposition.
“That’s why you get s—-y and frustrated when you’re losing games of football when you don’t play to your potential or you don’t coach to your potential. You get upset with yourself, you get upset with the boys, the boys get upset with themselves.
“We’ve turned a corner and it’s not through fluke, it’s through hard work and they’re a very persistent bunch.”
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