NRL: Canberra Raiders to harness preliminary pain to rise to chase premiership dream

by admin on July 14th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

The Canberra Raiders have been told to escape the NRL bubble to return to training with fresh eyes and fresh motivation as they aim to bury the pain of their broken premiership dream.
Nanjing Night Net

But the Green Machine will have to reverse a decade-long roller-coaster trend to ensure they back up their on-field resurgence to chase their first premiership since 1994.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart gathered his squad on Friday for the final wrap up of their sparkling 2016 campaign that fell one game short of a grand final berth.

The Raiders proved their doubters wrong this year, finishing second on the ladder, making a preliminary final for the first time in 19 years and scoring more points than any other Canberra team.

The challenge now is backing it up to lift the Raiders into the finals next year and making back-to-back play-off appearances for the first time since 2003-04.

“I’m happy with the progression of the whole club,” Stuart said.

“The football side of it and where we’re going … we’ll go into a review and let the players go away for a well-deserved holiday.

“I had a meeting with the staff this morning and I want them to go away and have a holiday, too. We go away and we think about where we need to go to next.

“I think you do that best by going away and being fresh. We’ll come back in and throw all of our ideas into the jar and come out with the best one.”

The Raiders enjoyed their best season in 21 years, setting the NRL alright with a club-record 10 wins in a row before the finals.

They started the season with only three representative players — Josh Hodgson, Elliott Whitehead and Josh Papalii.

But they finished the year with five in the Australian squad (Shannon Boyd, Jarrod Croker, Joey Leilua, Papalii, and Junior Paulo), two in the New Zealand group (Jordan Rapana and Joe Tapine) and Whitehead and Hodgson certainties to be included in England’s team.

They walked away from the Dally M awards with a bag of prizes, including Stuart being named coach of the year, Croker winning the captain’s award, highest point-scorer and fan’s choice gong and Leilua in the team of the year.

But the thing that will sting most every time they think about the 2016 campaign is thinking how close they got.

The Raiders were beaten by both grand finalists — the Melbourne Storm and Cronulla Sharks — by a combined total of four points in their play-off defeats.

Had a handful of refereeing decisions gone the Raiders’ way, they could be playing in the grand final on Sunday.

Instead, the players will harness the pain of missing out on a premiership moment and use it as motivation to rise to the next level in 2017.

“You do [have to use it as motivation], those opportunities don’t come by too often,” said halfback Aidan Sezer.

“We’re all disappointed and it’s going to take a long time to get over. But you can’t dwell on it because you can’t get anywhere now.

“We’ll move forward and hopefully take that experience to get better from it. Internally we knew we could have a good year and getting to a preliminary final, a chance to play in the big one, it’s disappointing to go out.

“It wasn’t to be. We’ll learn from it and hopefully come back next year to get that opportunity. You’re in the game to win it. We fell one step short so hopefully we can get there next year.”

RAIDERS 2016 AT A GLANCE

DEPARTING PLAYERS: Sam Williams (Wakefield), Brenko Lee (Bulldogs), Frank-Paul Nuuausala (Wigan), Sisa Waqa (French rugby), Zac Woolford (Bulldogs).

INCOMING PLAYERS: Jordan Turner (St Helens), Nick Cotric (under-20s), Clay Priest (Mounties), Lou Goodwin (Mounties).

RAIDERS RESULTS

Rd 1: Beat Panthers 30-22

Rd 2: Beat Roosters 21-20

Rd 3: Drew with Knights 24-24

Rd 4: Lost to Titans 24-20

Rd 5: Beat Bulldogs 22-8

Rd 6: Lost to Eels 36-6

Rd 7: Lost to Sharks 40-16

Rd 8: Beat Wests Tigers 60-6

Rd 9: Lost to Panthers 19-18

Rd 10: Lost to Dragons 16-12

Rd 11: Beat Warriors 38-12

Rd 12: Beat Bulldogs 32-20

Rd 13: Beat Sea Eagles 30-18

Rd 14: Lost to Broncos 26-18

Rd 16: Beat Titans 30-22

Rd 17: Beat Knights 25-29

Rd 18: Beat Cowboys 26-12

Rd 20: Beat Warriors 26-22

Rd 21: Beat Rabbitohs 54-4

Rd 22: Beat Sharks 30-14

Rd 23: Beat Storm 22-8

Rd 24: Beat Eels 28-18

Rd 25: Beat Sea Eagles 44-30

Rd 26: Beat Wests Tigers 52-10

Qualifying final: Lost to Sharks 16-14

Semi-final: Beat Panthers 22-12

Preliminary final: Lost to Storm 14-12

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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