Warriors 54 Raiders 12
New Zealand v Canberra
Joel Edwards of the Raiders looks on after giving away an intercept pass to Shaun Johnson of the Warriors. Photo: Hannah Peters
Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has personally apologised to the club's supporters for his team's second woeful performance in as many games, labelling it unacceptable.
Saturday night's embarrassing 54-12 flogging at the hands of the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland comes as the Raiders had barely recovered from a 36-point pounding by Manly a fortnight ago.
The Raiders are making history for all the wrong reasons.
It's their biggest ever loss to the Warriors since the Kiwi side came into existence in 1995, surpassing last year's 50-16 defeat at the end of the season after coach David Furner had been sacked, and only the second time the Raiders have conceded 50 or more points in back to back games.
The other occasion was in round two and three in 2006.
The Raiders rallied to make the finals that year, but on the evidence dished up in the past couple of games, it would take a brave, and probably a delusional person, to think they can do the same this time.
They have slumped to a win-loss record of 3-6 for the season and could fall to the bottom of the table if Newcastle and Cronulla win this weekend.
It is no wonder the Raiders are rated $101 outsiders to win the premiership and are the favourites for the dreaded wooden spoon, which would be the first since the club was founded in 1982.
Stuart interjected when Raiders captain Terry Campese was asked in the media conference what his message to the club's long-suffering supporters would be.
"We've got to apologise, that's what the message is,'' Stuart said.
"We have to get out of this rot very quickly, it's unacceptable.
"It's not through hard work, we're working very, very hard.
"We find ourselves in a hole at the moment.''
Apart from pointing to his side's ''absolutely diabolical'' edge defence over the past two games, Stuart was at a loss to pinpoint the reason for his side's dramatic slump from the opening seven weeks to its recent dismal efforts.
"It's hard to take, it just goes to show the last one wasn't a one-off,'' Stuart said.
"I don't have the answers here and right now.
"It's something I have got to talk to the players about.''
Campese was just as bemused.
"I'm speechless, I can't help you out,'' he said.
''You never go out on the field wanting to play like that.
''It's just disappointing for the guys and I feel for everyone.
''There's no-one in there talking (in the dressing-room) at the moment ... we've got to turn it around quickly.''
That they do, with the Raiders' next assignment against the Penrith Panthers at Canberra Stadium next Sunday.
Players should be nervously looking over their back, but it doesn't appear the Raiders have talent knocking down the door for inclusion.
The Raiders under-20s team was hammered 54-0 by the Warriors in the curtain-raiser.
Winger Sami Sauiluma scored four tries for Mounties in their 44-22 NSW Cup win to put his hand up for an NRL recall, but it's going to take much more than switching an outside back for the Raiders to rise out of their slump.
As they did in falling behind 42-4 to Manly at half-time, the Raiders found themselves down 24-6 at Eden Park at the break.
The news only got worse as the mercurial Shaun Johnson and centre Konrad Hurrell, a world away from his sex tape scandal from earlier in the week, inspired the Warriors (4-5) to their first win at their part-time home in six attempts.
''We obviously didn't expect to win like that, but it was great we stayed focused for 80 minutes and put in a very good display,'' Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said.
''(Hurrell) was very focused with his training during the week and that's why I gave him his shot in the starting side.
"His performance over the 80 minutes was pretty awesome.''
The Warriors take on the Canterbury Bulldogs at Waikato Stadium next Sunday.
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS 54 (Shaun Johnson 2; Ben Matulino, Konrad Hurrell, Ngani Laumape, Sam Tomkins, Manu Vatuvei, Jayson Bukuya tries; Johnson 9 goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 12 (Jarrod Croker 2 tries; Croker 2 goals) at Eden Park. Referees: Gavin Morris, Henry Perenara. Crowd: 18,165