12 hours ago
It Was All Over
Canberra coach Matthew Elliott began ironing his clothes for an end of season night on the turps and Michael Monaghan became so stressed he had to leave the house.
Raiders players gathered at prop Ryan O'Hara's house on Sunday to listen to a live radio call of the Penrith versus Brisbane National Rugby League preliminary final.
The outcome would determine the Raiders' destiny, with a win to Brisbane ending their season following Canberra's 30-18 loss to Melbourne on Friday.
So when the Broncos took an 18-4 lead, Canberra thought its season was over.
"I was actually in my lounge room and ... I had my ironing board out and I was ironing my going out gear at 12-nil," Elliott said.
Back at O'Hara's house, Monaghan could no longer handle the pressure.
"We were sitting around the radio and some people couldn't take it," half Mark McLinden said.
"Michael Monaghan was surprisingly fairly emotional.
"He came in and out of the house, couldn't listen to it.
"A lot of the guys were like that.
"But at the end of the day, we knew we couldn't change our destiny and the best thing to do was to sit there and wait and that's what we did."
Luckily for Canberra, Penrith fought back to win the match 28-18 to earn themselves a weekend off and knock Brisbane out of the finals.
Raiders skipper Simon Woolford said he was grateful for Penrith's help but it wasn't the ideal scenario.
"Thankfully the Panthers came good in the second half and got the cash and gave us a second chance," he said.
McLinden said turning up to training on Monday ahead of Saturday night's semifinal clash with the New Zealand Warriors was like starting the season again.
"There's a lot of optimism around the club and we're very happy with the situation and how it's turned out," he said.
"We see it as a second chance and a chance that we want to grab."
Elliott said he was relieved his team was once again in control of its own destiny.
"We certainly want to make a better fist of it than we did on Friday night," he said.
Elliott said the key for his team was a week of good preparation, something Canberra failed to do last week as injury and illness hit the squad.
But there were signs of a turnaround on Monday.
"There was more energy at training today then there was on Thursday of last week so that's a fairly positive sign," Elliott said.