Parramatta planted themselves back in the top eight by not panicking when the Raiders jumped out of the gates early, reeling back an 16-0 deficit to win 22-16 win at Darwin's TIO Stadium.
The Eels were trying to maintain the rage after a domineering 38-10 win over the Broncos before rep round intervened. They not only did that, they jumped over the top of the Wests Tigers on the NRL ladder to remain in the eight.
Canberra were aiming for a fourth straight win after accounting for the Bulldogs, Wests Tigers and Sharks. But the scent went cold in the Northern Territory, not that five-eighth Jack Wighton gave up trying.
The NSW Origin centre was the energy source for his team most of the night. He ran for 125 metres, had eight tackle busts, two line breaks and scored a try.
But the Eels somehow mustered enough enthusiasm to overrun the Raiders, keeping them scoreless in the second half. And they did it with virtually one hand tied behind their back considering they didn't complete 13 of their 41 sets.
However, halves Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown were reunited after 13 weeks – Brown recovering from a stress fracture in his back – and it showed as their communication stepped up as the match wore on.
Match: Eels v Raiders
Round 15 -
Venue: TIO Stadium
- LIVE PASS
It was the Raiders who started with plenty of pep, scoring in the third minute off the back of a 30-metre dash by Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
Two more tries to Jack Wighton, in a simple dummy-half surge, and Sebastian Kris off an Aidan Sezer kick, and Ricky Stuart's men appeared to be sitting pretty at 16-0.
But then the chants of 'Parra, Parra' by the Darwin locals finally worked some magic with two Eels tries in the final three minutes of the half – Manu Ma'u with a show-and-go followed by a traditional Blake Ferguson sneaky one inside the right corner just seconds from the hooter.
Brad Arthur's men had clawed back some momentum to start the second half only trailing by four, 16-12.
In the second half, errors from both sides plagued the spectacle early. But then Ferguson intercepted a Jarrod Croker pass to race 85 metes in the 61st minute before Moses danced passed three quality defenders in Elliott Whitehead, Croker and Nicoll-Klokstad to score five minutes later.
Both sides have a bye next week, which will give Stuart and his players plenty of time to think about things – such as giving up healthy leads – before they face the Dragons at WIN Stadium in round 17.
Josh Hodgson, who had only just returned from a broken thumb, was buckled over on the field with sore ribs after Clint Gutherson tackle in the 73rd minute.
The Eels only have one immediate worry – Peni Terepo was put on report for hitting Jordan Rapana's nose with his forearm in the 28th minute. Alongside Rapana, Eels centre Brad Takairangi also had to undergo an HIA. Both men passed.
For the first 35 minutes of the match, the Raiders had looked every bit like a top-four side.
The win moved the Eels back into eighth spot on for and against while the Raiders wasted a chance to move into a share of second spot.