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NRL 2021 LIVE updates: Sydney Roosters end Canberra Raiders’ season with 40-16 thumping

So, as it stands right now the Sharks will make the finals if they can upset the Storm on Friday night. If not, it will open the door for the Titans, who will need to make up 23 points in the for-and-against across the two games. They’re due to play the Warriors on Sunday.

The Roosters will finish fourth if the Eels can’t beat the Panthers and the Sea Eagles somehow manage to lose to the Cowboys on Saturday night. Unlikely, but you never know.

But the story of the night was the Raiders, who bow out for season 2021 despite a lot of hype about their title credentials before a ball was kicked this year (including from me). Hear that? Might be their premiership window shutting.

Adam Keighran bagged a hat-trick of tries as the Roosters ran out convincing 40-16 winners at Mackay on what can only be described as one strange night.

Thanks for joining us and we’ll be back on Friday night for the big doubleheader, starting with the Sharks and Storm. Good night.

Adam Keighran reacts after scoring his third try of the night.

Adam Keighran reacts after scoring his third try of the night.Credit:Getty

Well, it’s far too little too late for Canberra, who grab a try in the final minute with Semi Valemei and Jack Wighton combining to put Harley Smith-Shields away down the left for what is barely a consolation. It stops a run of 34 unanswered points from the Roosters, who have ended the season of the 2019 grand finalists.

It’s been one of those seasons for the Raiders, who probably didn’t deserve to make the finals after some abysmal efforts throughout the middle of the year. With it all to play for they started well and had a first-half lead, but were absolutely torched either side of half-time.

The Roosters will live to fight another day and still have a glimmer of hope of finishing fourth if the Eels and Sea Eagles both lose. But the story was always going to be the Raiders, who have butchered their chance to finish eighth. It’s down to the Sharks or Titans now.

Sitili Tupouniua tries to break a Jack Wighton tackle.

Sitili Tupouniua tries to break a Jack Wighton tackle.Credit:Getty

This is just getting ugly now with Sam Walker’s first major contribution to dart across field and try to fire a pass over the top of Jordan Rapana, who can only bat it down into the path of Lachlan Lam, who scoops it up to dive over. Don’t forget, the Raiders led this game 12-6 in the first half with a win needed to save their season.

Yet it’s been all the Roosters in the second half and Adam Keighran’s conversion attempt cannons into the upright and stays in the field of play. It’s 40-12 with just three minutes left.

What a shocker of a night for Raiders fans.

Umm, was Siliva Havili put on report for that “tackle” on Egan Butcher? It might have been a little late after the Roosters star passed the ball, but he wouldn’t have burst a grape with the amount of impact that collision had. This has been one strange night.

Inside the last six minutes and Trent Robinson has finally asked Sam Walker to climb off the bench, replacing captain James Tedesco, who will be put in cotton wool.

Game. Set. Match.

The Raiders can start planning for Funky Friday, Mad Monday, whatever it is they’re allowed to do these days after Drew Hutchison, who has been outstanding all night, steps off his left foot and releases substitute Ben Marschke, who has his first try of the night. That was flimsy, flimsy defence down the Raiders’ right again.

Siosiua Taukeiaho nails the conversion and it’s all over bar the shouting now at 36-12 with just 12 minutes left. A disappointing end to a very disappointing season from the Raiders (who someone might have tipped to win the title before round one).

That is the most farcical captain’s challenge I think we’ll ever see.

James Tedesco has tried to challenge a call the Roosters were entitled to drag Matt Timoko into touch, even though referee Gerard Sutton said he called held. Sutton said they could challenge whether or not he went into touch, but not his held ruling. Tedesco wanted to challenge for the sake of it. It was sent upstairs, and then the bunker said he couldn’t challenge the held call anyway. And I still don’t know if that’s exactly what happened.

What a shambles.

Inside the final 20 minutes and Josh Papalii is back on the field for the Raiders in a last-ditch bid to save their season, while Semi Valemei still can’t take a trick with another elementary mistake.

A penny for Ricky Stuart’s thoughts.

Wow, that’s the try of the night and it might just be the one that ends the Raiders’ season.

Daniel Tupou gets an offload away deep in his own territory which releases Adam Keighran, who finds a rampaging James Tedesco and his around-the-corner pass finds Keighran again, who steps his way over and slams the ball down despite a head clash with the goalpost. It’s his third try of the night and remrkably his second hat-trick in as many years in the final round of the season.

He’s still a little uncomfortable meaning Siosiua Taukeiaho has to take the conversion attempt from in front.

The Roosters now lead 30-12 with 27 minutes left.

Canberra’s season, I think it’s fair to say, is officially on life support.

Adam Keighran celebrates one of his tries.

Adam Keighran celebrates one of his tries.Credit:Getty

I know the Raiders will argue they’ve copped a couple of tough calls so far, but that has to be one of the biggest blunders of the night.

Josh Hodgson, who is not within a million miles of being square at marker, jumps out and grabs the arm of opposite number Sam Verrills and dislodges the ball … and there’s no penalty. That might just do me.

That goalpost is going to be so costly.

The Roosters have just waltzed up the other end through a James Tedesco break up the middle, and the set ends with Adam Keighran jinking his way over on the left-hand side for his second try of the night. That could be a hammer blow for the Raiders.

The try-scorer’s conversion attempt is hooked across the face of the upright though, with the Roosters leading 24-12 with 32 minutes left.

It’s becoming a steep task for Canberra now.

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