Raiders look to future after narrow loss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Raiders look to future after narrow loss

By Steve Jancetic and Bonny Symons-Brown 18/09/2010 09:22:48 AM Comments (0)

Cinderella may not have made it to the ball, but rarely have so many positives been taken from a heart-breaking end to an NRL season as those portrayed by Canberra on Friday night.

The fairytale run may not have had a happy ending - the Raiders losing 26-24 to Wests Tigers in their home semi-final - but across the board there was belief in plenty more chapters to be written about this footy side.

Even co-captain Terry Campese, amid the prospect of nine months on the sidelines recovering from a knee reconstruction he is likely to require, saw the silver lining.

"I'm sure that everyone will look back at this time and go forward because I think we have a great bunch of young blokes and I'm sure we can really be a force next year," Campese said.

"I just hope the fans stick behind us and really come in numbers next year."

It's hard to believe anyone in the Raiders-record crowd in excess of 26,000 would have left Canberra Stadium not wanting to come back in 2011, with the green machine showing a courage and commitment that augers well for the future of the young squad.

Throw in the likes of new recruits Brett White and pacey Cronulla outside back Blake Ferguson and there are exciting times ahead for the club.

The biggest worry however is Campese's knee, after it buckled under him with just over a quarter of the game to go with the Raiders having closed the deficit to six points.

Already thin in the halves, having missed out on enticing either of veteran pair Trent Barrett or Brett Kimmorley to hold off retirement, the Raiders need to have Campese back on deck as soon as possible next season.

"It's not the way I wanted to go out, very disappointed, but we'll wait to Monday and hopefully it's not as bad as what's expected," Campese said, adding that club medical officials were confident he had ruptured his ACL.

"But fingers crossed, ice up over the next few days and come Monday hopefully it's a some miraculous new injury." Either way, fellow co-captain Alan Tongue was adamant there were god times ahead, so long as the playing group took something from the loss.

"The lessons that we've learned out of this game and this season - the coaching staff, players, the whole club I've been really proud of," Tongue said.

"There was probably some pretty harsh criticism (from the media) of what we were doing down here and I think we stood up as a club, we stood united.

"We came out and we showed type of players we are, the type of character we have at this club ... I know we're going to be better for it next year.

"It's about remembering the feeling that we had at the end of that game - it's important that you realise these sorts of games and these situations don't come around too many times."

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