Raiders out to end topsy turvy NRL season

James MacSmith, NZ Newswire August 11, 2012, 7:02 pm

Canberra coach David Furner says the lure of finals football can finally put an end to the Raiders topsy-turvy NRL season.

Canberra have been one of the most inconsistent and frustrating teams this season with big wins followed by big losses or vice versa.

This has been nowhere more evident than their efforts in the past three weeks. Last weekend's impressive 28-12 win over Brisbane was preceded by a 36-6 hammering at the hands of Newcastle which followed a 36-4 round-21 away thrashing of Cronulla.

But Furner said he saw signs in last week's defeat of the Broncos that his side might have finally turned the corner for good.

"I thought last weekend we played a very good brand of football - we completed and defended quite well. Basically, it has given us a chance to stay alive," Furner said.

"We have worked hard as a group to get that consistency. Some of the losses we have had have been big. With results in the competition, possession is having a massive impact on scorelines and we have been on the wrong end of some of those due to our completions.

"Last week, we completed well and we can draw confidence from that."

The Raiders sit two points adrift of Wests Tigers who are in eight place and, realistically, need to win all four remaining games to be a chance of playing in the finals, beginning with their match against Penrith away on Sunday.

Furner acknowledged Canberra's fate.

"We have got no second chances - we have to treat every game as 'must win'," he said.

The Raiders will turn out as named for the Panthers clash.

Joe Picker has been cleared of concussion and will play, while Dane Tilse was expected to miss the match due to the birth of his child, but his wife is not due until Tuesday.

Jarrad Kennedy and Bronson Harrison will drop off the Raiders' extended bench.

Penrith are also expected to be as named, with coach Ivan Cleary to cut one player from his extended bench closer to kickoff.

AAP jms/

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