Jared Maxwell gives David Shillington his marching orders. Photo: Stefan PostlesAs it happenedRaiders shoot themselves in the foot againRaiders want more free-to-air games under new TV deal
Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah blasted Canberra prop David Shillington’s head butt on Aaron Woods as “pretty poor” after he was sent-off in the final minute of a 20-18 loss which looks to have ended the Raiders’ finals hopes.
Down 20-18 with seconds left at Canberra Stadium on Monday night, Shillington dropped the ball and after copping a sledge from Woods, appeared to launch his head at the NSW prop in the scrum.
Shillington was sent-off and given he heads to Gold Coast Titans next year, his 200th NRL match could be his last for the Raiders if suspended.
The Raiders prop became the first NRL player in almost two years to receive the marching orders. The last star to receive the dubious honour was Newcastle Knights forward Kade Snowden, for a high shot on the Cowboys’ Ray Thompson in August 2013.
Farah has played alongside Shillington with Australia, but took aim at him when asked about the incident.
“It was pretty poor by Shillo,” Farah said.
“I know Shillo well and it was out of character from him, but it was pretty blatant from what I saw. There was a few words exchanged but Woodsy [said] nothing other than a sledge here or there.
“What happens after that is up to the match review committee to look at and deal with. I know none of our players did anything wrong and that’s all I’m worried about.”
Woods told Triple M he said to Shillington: “Congratulations on 200 games, thanks for giving us the game.”
It was a moment of madness which encapsulated the frustration of the Raiders as they watch another season which showed great promise slip away.
Now four points outside the top eight with four games left, Canberra’s finals hopes look dead and they officially will be should they lose at home to a red-hot Manly on Sunday.
Once again they were their own worst enemies, with a lack of patience and composure at critical times costing them victory.
The Raiders have lost eight of 10 home games, five of them by four points or less.
On most occasions they’ve beaten themselves and Stuart acknowledged his troops should have learned from those experiences.
“They’re a brand new team, when we get into tough periods of the game we’re not good enough to close it out,” he said.
“We’re too impatient, we want to score off every set of six instead of playing percentage football. When you lose those types of games through a lack of discipline and being impatient, that’s the frustrating thing.
“I can handle getting beaten, that’s not the drama, I just feel sorry for them sitting in there when they shoot themselves in the foot like that. We’ve had that many times this year when we should have learnt from those experiences and we haven’t.”
Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker added: “It’s extremely frustrating as a player, let alone the tough fans who support us every week.
“I’m sure they’re disappointed but no one is hurting as bad as we are. We have to start learning from those tight ones and start winning them. The big boys went well for us and created a lot of opportunity, but we were too impatient.”
Canberra’s forwards dominated their opposites for most of the match, with Shannon Boyd and Paul Vaughan having a massive impact off the bench.
The pair came on midway through the first half and turned a 4-0 deficit into a 12-4 half-time lead through two tries to Boyd.
However, the Raiders were made to pay for two poor defensive lapses off quick 20-metre Tigers restarts in the second half.
Fullback James Tedesco, who reneged on a contract he signed with Canberra to remain at the Tigers in 2014, was involved in everything.
He scored the first try in the second half to get the visitors back into the match off some great lead-up play off a tap restart from David Nofoaluma and Mitchell Moses, and tore apart Canberra’s right edge at will.
Canberra fans haven’t forgotten his backflip and booed Tedesco after the try, but the Tigers custodian had the last laugh.
With 18 minutes left another quick 20m tap from the Tigers again exposed the Raiders’ defensive line, eventually ending in a try to Pat Richards to give the visitors a 14-12 lead.
However, their lead lasted just two minutes. The Tigers believed Raiders fullback Jack Wighton had taken a bomb in the goal and were looking to set up for a 20m restart.
But the referees ruled play on and Wighton capitalised, making a break down field before finding hooker Josh Hodgson in support, who found Jarrod Croker to score under the posts.
With 10 minutes left the Tigers hit the front again after more brilliant play from Tedesco, the fullback bursting through Canberra’s right edge before halfback Luke Brooks finished it to land the decisive blow.
WESTS TIGERS 20 (Sauaso Sue, James Tedesco, Pat Richards, Luke Brooks tries; Richards 2 goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 18 (Shannon Boyd 2, Jarrod Croker tries; Jarrod Croker 3 goals) bt at Canberra Stadium on Monday. Crowd: 8704. Referees: Jared Maxwell and Henry Perenara.
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