Raiders thumped, but still eye NRL finals

Canberra haven't given up on making the NRL finals despite Manly all but ending their chances with a crushing 36-22 win at Canberra Stadium on Sunday.

The heavy loss capped a tumultuous week for the Raiders in which club legend David Furner became the first coach in club history to get the sack - with interim coach Andrew Dunemann's top grade coaching career getting off to an inauspicious start.

The Sea Eagles edged one step closer to locking down a top four finals berth, while the 12th-placed Raiders are now only a mathematical possibility of making the top eight due to their poor for-and-against record.

Despite the unlikelihood that the ailing Raiders will reach the top eight, Dunemann said his side still held out hope of keeping their season alive.

"What we did today was take the destiny out of our hands by losing," he said.

"We've got two games left and if we win both of them we're going to put ourselves in the mix."

Minus star players Terry Campese, Blake Ferguson and Jack Wighton, the Raiders slumped to their fourth straight loss.

Manly flew out of the blocks with four first half tries, three of which were through some brittle Raiders edge defence.

"We started quickly, which was good, because we knew we had to do that with all the drama that's been down here," Manly coach Geoff Toovey said.

"It's been well publicised in the past, teams bouncing back after adversity, so we were prepared."

Raiders co-captain Brett White said having just 30 per cent of possession in the first 20 minutes really hurt his team.

"We burnt a lot of energy in that first 20 minutes and it was great to see the boys stick in, they never gave in," White said.

Manly playmakers Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran were superb, throwing the last pass or kick in the majority of their side's six tries.

The cracks in the Raiders' line were evident from the get-go, centre Jamie Lyon finding success in the 13th minute and then bagging his second try just four minutes later when he pounced on a deft grubber from halfback Cherry-Evans.

Cherry-Evans' boot continued to dictate proceedings with a 40-20 kick the following set, fullback Peter Hiku scoring five tackles later, before Jamie Buhrer crossed in the 30th minute to give the visitors a 24-0 lead approaching halftime.

Looking down and out, the Raiders launched a desperate comeback bid and scored a Joel Thompson try in the 37th minute.

Steve Matai was then sent to the sin bin right on halftime for a professional foul when he held Raiders five-eighth Anthony Milford down for too long.

Canberra made the most of their numerical advantage, Reece Robinson scoring in the right corner in the 44th minute following a Milford 40-20 to make it a 12-point deficit.

However with Matai back on the field, Manly moved quickly to close out any hopes of a dramatic comeback through a try to Anthony Watmough.

The two sides traded tries until fulltime, however Canberra only ever managed to get within 12 points of the visitors.

AAP 
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