6 Jul 2009

Raiders eyeing late surge

6:03 am on 6 July 2009

After back-to-back wins over premiership high-flyers Melbourne and Gold Coast, the Canberra Raiders are threatening to gatecrash the top eight of the National Rugby League.

Just when it seemed the race for the NRL finals had been cut to nine contenders, the Raiders hung on to beat the Titans 34-28 in Canberra yesterday to leave the green machine just four points behind eighth-placed Brisbane with nine rounds to go.

The Eels may have blown their best chance to stake a claim for finals football with a heart-stopping 38-34 loss to Penrith, while the second-placed Bulldogs need to beat Manly by 32 points tonight to usurp the Dragons in top spot on the ladder, while the Sea Eagles can climb as high as sixth with a win.

On Saturday night Melbourne gave themselves some breathing space in fourth spot with a last-gasp 18-14 win over Newcastle, the Knights joining North Queensland, Penrith and Brisbane in being three competition points adrift of the Storm.