Rhyse's record haul gone to Dogs as Raiders stage miracle comeback

Damn you, Joey Leilua and Ricky Stuart and Canberra.

This game should have been a celebration of the Generation Next Bulldogs and Rhyse Martin's remarkable 24-point haul.

But Leilua and the Canberra Raiders played party-poopers to break the hearts of the Canterbury faithful yet again.

Late show: The Raiders celebrate their comeback to breaks Bulldogs' hearts.

Late show: The Raiders celebrate their comeback to breaks Bulldogs’ hearts.

Leilua silenced the 10,105 fans at Belmore Sports Ground on Saturday night when he crashed over in the right corner with just seconds remaining to seal the 32-28 win.

The Dogs led 28-14 with seven minutes remaining and were on track for their first back-to-back wins of the season.

But then Blake Austin scored, followed by Joey Tapine, and finally Leilua.

The Raiders players celebrated over the sideline as silence fell across Canterbury's spiritual home.

Ricky Stuart was happy for the result but far from impressed with the overall effort. "They should have won, we were pathetic tonight,'' Stuart said. "It's not something I say a lot about this team because we have been on the receiving end of that where we have been the better team.''

It was a cruel end to what should have been all about the Bulldogs' new stars, especially Martin.

Martin, who would not have been recognised by most supporters, scored three second-half tries and slotted six goals.

His final four-pointer also marked the return of Josh Morris, whose final pass for his newcomer mate was absolute class.

Reach out: Joseph Tapine crosses for the Green Machine, whose slim finals chances remain alive.

Reach out: Joseph Tapine crosses for the Green Machine, whose slim finals chances remain alive.

For all the doom and gloom at Canterbury and the exodus of star players, including Moses Mbye and Aaron Woods in recent weeks, the next batch of kids are clearly going to make the most of their opportunities.

Martin, who only debuted a couple of months ago, ran hard and deserved the triple try haul.

The 25-year-old Papua New Guinea representative has improved each week and always looked a threat on the left edge.

Inspired: Rhyse Martin celebrates with Greg Eastwood after crossing for the Bulldogs.

Inspired: Rhyse Martin celebrates with Greg Eastwood after crossing for the Bulldogs.

Bulldogs coach Dean Pay was full of praise for Martin

"He played a fantastic game. I spoke to him about his game after last week and we addressed a few things and he fixed them up.

"To score 24 points, that's pretty hard to come by, especially for one person in the NRL.''

Lachlan Lewis, the nephew of 'The King' Wally Lewis, showed wonderful composure in just his second NRL game, and it was his towering bomb that led to Martin's second try.

It was impossible to miss the way Lewis calmly walked a couple of paces before he launched a bomb and was flattened by defenders.

Jeremy Marshall-King, another youngster given regular game time by Pay, posted the opening points of the night in just the fourth minute when he skipped through some soft Canberra defence to score.

He also came up with a brilliant tackle late in the game to deny former Dog Brad Abbey a try.

Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker was the danger man, bagging a try and setting up another two as Canberra had a field day down their side of the field against Kerrod Holland.

Against run of play: Raiders captain Jarrod Croker scores a try in the miraculous win.

Against run of play: Raiders captain Jarrod Croker scores a try in the miraculous win.

"We lost that game ourselves, and we've only got ourselves to blame," Pay said.

"We're at a stage where we need each and every individual doing their job properly.

"There were periods in that game we got away from what we've trained to do. We need to make sure we're executing how we want to play.

The Raiders looked flat for large passages of play, but they were never going to surrender.

Most of their early points came against the run of play.

Just when they looked ready to make a game of it early in the second half, Leilua knocked on and was penalised for dissent, allowing Canterbury to march downfield, score and then go on a run.

Even when the 'Bulldogs' chant went up late, Canberra looked the more likely.

Stuart got another one up on his former apprentice Pay.

The only setback was a calf injury to big Shannon Boyd, while Abbey was taken from the field on a stretcher.

The finals still remain a slim chance for the Raiders, but they will back themselves at home to North Queensland next weekend, then brace for a horror road trip to Cronulla, Melbourne and Penrith.

Canterbury's own September aspirations ended much earlier, but Pay – and the Dogs fans – will be content to see the development of their future stars.

They would have learned plenty from the late, late loss.

South Sydney await them next Saturday while Martin is set to go head to head with Blues representative Angus Crichton.

The Dogs won't leave Sydney for the remainder of their games and will look to build early for 2019.

Morris was a late addition after he overcame a knee injury he suffered against Canberra earlier this year.

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