That final hit from Bailey Simonsson sent Savage from the field. The Eels won 28-20 off the back of some impressive defensive efforts in…
Ricky Stuart is refusing to panic about Canberra’s form despite his side slumping to a third defeat in four games on Saturday night.
However, Stuart admits his team will never be the same as the one that made a fairytale run to last year’s grand final.
Nor does he want them to be.
But he also concedes the Raiders aren’t where they want to be after Saturday’s golden-point loss to Parramatta left them with one win in their past four games.
Stuart’s side almost stole the two points when Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad crossed twice in the final five minutes to force extra time at Bankwest Stadium.
However, Eels captain Clint Gutherson iced the win with an 87th-minute field goal.
Stuart was proud of his team’s never-say-die attitude, but bemoaned a series of untimely errors in both attack and defence that cost them the game.
“It’s amazing how they actually got back to that scoreline. I’ll never debate that they never give in. I’ve said that for years,” Stuart said post-game.
“You can never win a game of football in the first half but you can lose it and we keep making it very hard on ourselves by poor pieces of football.”
The defeat leaves Canberra in danger of dropping as low as seventh by the end of the round, however, Stuart is refusing to hit the panic button.
He said the team needed to forget about its achievements from last year, when they went agonisingly close to claiming the premiership.
“We’re not the team we were last year. We’ll never be that team from last year. So we can put that to rest,” he said.
“(But) we’re not where we need to be as a team today.
“But, it’s not panic stations for us. There’s areas we can work with that we need to pay attention to. I haven’t got time to panic. I’ve got time to fix it quickly.”
Stuart also refused to be drawn on a flashpoint during the match, when firebrand Corey Horsburgh reacted angrily to a tackle from Ryan Matterson.
An emotional Horsburgh also flipped the bird to the crowd as he limped from the field, before being ruled out with a suspected foot injury.
“I haven’t spoken to him so I don’t know what the situation is about yet. I went in the sheds for five minutes and I gotta come and do (media),” Stuart said.
The Raiders also wait a nervous wait on the match review report after both Josh Hodgson and Jordan Rapana were cited for separate incidents.