Saturday nights 16-26 loss to Canberra has ended the Vodafone Junior Warriors hopes of a top four finish for the NYC finals.
They went into the match just two points behind the third and fourth placed sides but, while they remain fifth on the ladder, theyre now three points adrift of fourth-placed Canterbury-Bankstown with just one match to play.
Table-topping Canberra and the Vodafone Junior Warriors produced a quality contest in their 25th-round encounter at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday night.
In what was coach John Acklands last home game in charge, the Vodafone Junior Warriors were in contention all the way, going into the last 17 minutes all locked up at 16-16.
It wasnt until the 73rd minute that the Raiders edged ahead 20-16 from long range and then sealed the result two minutes from time with another strike from distance.
Earlier Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard had scored the Vodafone Junior Warriors only first half try as the Raiders went to the break 10-4 ahead.
After falling 4-16 behind early in the second half they roared back into the battle after two tries in the space of four minutes to second rower Sione Feao and winger Lafu Feagaiga. Despite opportunities they couldnt find a go-ahead try.
At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Vodafone Junior Warriors 16 (Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, Sione Feao, Lafu Feagaiga tries; Tuimoala 2 conversions).
Canberra Raiders 26 (Brenko Lee 2, Andrew Heffernan 2, Jonathon Reuben tries; Mitchell Cornish 3 conversions).
Halftime: 10-4 Raiders.
Referees: Peter Gough and Shane Rehm.
Vodafone Junior Warriors: David Fusitua; Metia Lisati, Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, Ngataua Hukatai, Lafu Feagaiga; Tuimoala Lolohea, Eko Malu; James Taylor, Michael Sio (c), Kouma Samson; Stedman Lefau, Sione Feao; Sam Cook. Interchange: Sam Lisone, Abraham Papalii, Tama Koopu, Viliami Kaveinga.