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Canberra dealt a heavy blow to the Vodafone Auckland Lions' play-off hopes with a crushing 36-10 win in their New South Wales Premier League clash at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
The Auckland side needed to win its last two matches to have any realistic chance of succeeding in a late bid for a spot in the finals.
But the result was effectively decided by halftime as the Raiders stormed to an 18-0 lead with regular first graders Marshall Chalk and Michael Dobson among the try-scorers.
The trend continued in the early stages of the second period as Canberra snared another two converted tries to go 30-0 ahead.
Only inside the last 15 minutes did the Vodafone Auckland Lions make an impression on the scoreboard with tries to Lance Hohaia and Louis Anderson but Canberra still had more to come with a sixth try in the closing minutes. Not helping the Vodafone Auckland Lions' cause was the loss of NRL veteran Tony Martin through illness.
The result sees the Raiders go to 26 points while the Lions remain on 22. With a bye next weekend and their last match against Penrith, the Auckland side can reach a maximum of 26 points, which almost certainly won't be enough.
At Canberra Stadium, Canberra Vodafone Auckland Lions 10 (Lance Hohaia, Louis Anderson tries; Lance Hohaia conversion).
Canberra Raiders 36 (Marshall Chalk 2, Ryan Barton, Michael Dobson, Bronx Goodwin, Brenton Lawrence tries; Michael Dobson 6 conversions).
Halftime: 18-0 Raiders.