Coach pressure eases as Raiders beat Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Coach pressure eases as Raiders beat Storm

Melissa Woods 15/05/2011 12:08:24 PM Comments (0)

The pressure valve on Canberra NRL coach David Furner has eased a notch or two, with his desperate side shocking Melbourne 20-12 to break an eight-game losing streak.

Furner's head was on the chopping block Saturday night after their dismal start to the season - a loss at AAMI Park would have been a club record - but the Raiders were rewarded as they out-enthused and outplayed their more fancied rivals.

Canberra centre Jarrod Croker kicked a penalty goal to break a 12-12 deadlock with 11 minutes remaining, after Storm skipper Cameron Smith was pinged for stripping the ball as he tackled Dane Tilse.

And then winger Blake Ferguson scored an amazing individual try as the clock wound down to seal the victory.

Ferguson took a pass 60 metres from the tryline and, dashing downfield, chipped ahead.

It looked as if the ball would go into touch, but he managed to regather with an outstretched hand over the sideline and beat Gareth Widdop and Billy Slater to touch down.

Video referee Paul Simpkins ruled benefit of the doubt when it was unclear if Ferguson's boot had touched the sideline.

"We needed to win," Furner said when asked whether this relieved pressure on his position and the team.

"They worked hard for that game. They showed tremendous character.

"But it's about keeping our feet on the ground now."

The Raiders hadn't won in Melbourne since 2000, when Furner was the team skipper.

They showed their intent from the kick-off, as winger Reece Robinson scored in the fourth minute and, with their forward pack running Melbourne ragged, kept the home side scoreless until the 36th minute, when Storm winger Matt Duffie crossed.

With a flat Melbourne uncharacteristically ill-disciplined, incurring three early penalties, the Raiders took advantage with five-eighth Josh McCrone collecting a Tilse ball to push the score out to 12-0 by the 15th minute.

Down 12-6 at halftime, Melbourne looked like they would claw their way back into the match when second-rower Kevin Proctor found cracks in the defence to cross the line just two minutes into the second half and level the scores.

However the Storm, with key players backing up from two games last weekend with the Test match, ran out of petrol as the Raiders maintained the pressure.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy lamented the early penalties, which he said he would follow up this week with referees boss Bill Harrigan.

"It was very disappointing but we got beat by a better side on the night," he said.

"I thought they were really good, especially their second half. Their defence was good.

"We need to be make sure when we get our chances in games, we're more effective and consistent with taking them."

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