Desperation has cost Canberra dearly this NRL season, so Blake Austin is keen to make sure Manly don’t catch out the Raiders trying to overplay their hand when they meet on Sunday.
The Raiders had been favourites to beat Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium on Monday, but a slew of errors cost them victory and the opportunity to prop up their chances of a finals berth.
It marked the fifth time in eighth losses at home they had dropped by four points or less.
They’re now four points outside the top eight and have to win all remaining four games to be in finals contention.
But Austin doesn’t want his side to look too needy.
“We’ve been playing desperate all year and sometimes that’s a bit of our problem,” he said on Wednesday.
“So we’ll be heading into the game like any other and trying to do what’s needed to win the game.”
Austin, recently rated by players as the league’s best five-eighth, admitted the Raiders tried too hard against the Tigers – laying the blame on himself and halfback Sam Williams.
“I need to be a lot better,” he said.
“I was well below par on the weekend and to turn out a performance like that was really disappointing.
“It’s about sticking to the simple things. There were moments where we did those simple things and others where we just really over-played our hand and pushed too many passes.
“It’s got to come from me and Sammy, we’ve got to drive that.
“We’re taking full responsibility for that and we will try to be better next week.”
Austin said there is no better test than against one of the competition’s leading halves combinations in Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran at GIO Stadium.
The pair have led the Sea Eagles’ resurgence, having claimed five of their last six games to put themselves within reach of the finals.
“They’ve been a powerhouse for 10 years now Manly, and you know you’re going to be in for a big game every time you verse them,” Austin said.
“It doesn’t help that they’re hitting the form they are, but what an opportunity we have.
“Me and Sammy will be coming up against two great halves and it’ll be a chance to put last week behind us.”