Wests Tigers run riot over Raiders in NRL
Embattled Canberra coach David Furner is refusing to engage in the pessimism hovering over the Raiders’ NRL season despite a confidence-crushing 40-0 loss to Wests Tigers on Saturday.
Inspired by Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall, the Tigers romped away with seven unanswered tries at Canberra Stadium to deliver the Raiders’ their worst loss at home this season.
It’s just the second time in history the Raiders have been kept scoreless on their home turf and consigns them to their fourth defeat in the past five games, with their only win in that period coming against lowly Parramatta.
In wet Canberra conditions, the Raiders were all but powerless against a resurgent Tigers, who took a 20-0 halftime lead and didn’t let up for a comprehensive sixth win on the trot.
Nothing went the Raiders’ way. They had just 33 per cent of possession and, when they did finally get the ball, they lost it even in the absence of pressure.
A handful of easy penalties throughout the night gifted the Tigers field position.
Asked to describe the performance, Furner was concise.
“In the end? Embarrassing,” lamented Furner.
“Sixty-seven per cent possession to the Tigers – that pretty much sums up a game where we made every error possible.
“I wouldn’t say worst effort, but worst with our errors and inviting teams in and possession-wise as well.
“Fundamental errors were way too many.”
Furner pointed out the Raiders had been one of the top three sides for finishing sets this season, but could only manage a 66 per cent completion rate against the Tigers.
The warning signs are becoming all too apparent for Canberra, with their attack struggling and their already under-fire defence under increased spotlight having conceded a whopping 76 points over the past fortnight.
Furner would not comment on the Raiders’ lengthening odds of making the finals, only vowing Canberra will fight back when they travel to Newcastle next week to play the Knights.
He signalled Josh Dugan is likely to get another shot at five-eighth despite a quiet night against the Tigers, acknowledging a lack of possession meant he wasn’t given a real chance to shine.
But they will have to do without captain David Shillington who will be absent next week due to his State of Origin commitments and possibly also Shaun Berrigan who tore a bicep and could be a long-term omission.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are going from strength to strength in consolidating a top-eight spot and shared the try-scoring among seven players against the Raiders.
Captain Robbie Farah said the Tigers have their minds firmly set on September action.
“To hold a team to zero is a great effort. I’m more pleased about that than the 40 points, to be honest,” he said.
“And it’s going to do wonders for our for-and-against as well.
“We were in the negatives before tonight, so it’s going to be important at the back end of the year.”
Wests Tigers next face the high-flying Melbourne away at AAMI Park.© AAP 2013