Ricky Stuart warned the Raiders would not be "blowing away" NRL rivals this year after Canberra survived a second-half onslaught to hold off the Eels at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.
After threatening to become the attacking team many tipped to win this year's title with a first-half blitz, the Green Machine' ran out of steam as the Eels scored back-to-back tries to get back into the contest.
The Raiders led from start to finish but failed to find the brutality and brilliance that made them such a formidable force last year - and had experts predicting they could attack their way to their first premiership since 1994.
"You might not see that again this year," Stuart said.
"We won't win as many games by the amount of points that we did last year. Coming out and blowing teams away now is not in my preparations, in my previews or in my thoughts.
"Teams are ready for us now. We surprised a few people last year. I am kidding myself if I think we can be the same football team we were last year."
But for 40 minutes against the Eels they were.
Finally unleashing the attacking arsenal that led to them becoming the most exciting team in the NRL last year, the Raiders exploded with Sia Soliola, Blake Austin, Joey Leilua, and Jarrod Croker all crossing to make it 22-6 at the break.
Jordan Rapana was sprinting down sidelines, Leilua was stepping and shoving past defenders, and Austin was backing up everything through the middle.
Following a stop-start season, the Raiders were finally about to give a team not just the "Viking Clap", but maybe even a "Viking Slap".
Or so it seemed.
"They are my expectations," Stuart said.
"We are involved in a very hard competition. If you take last year's form into account it is unfair. There has been a whole lot of improvement in those teams that didn't make the eight last year. It makes it harder for those that did because there is an even healthier competition."
The Eels stopped the Raiders' rampage with Michael Jennings and Kaysa Pritchard scoring back-to-back tries to open the second half and make it a fight.
Incredibly the Eels were trailing by just four until Canberra rookie Nick Cotric blazed his way to the line with a sizzling 35m solo try to seal the match.
"I saw the stats at halftime and we had a lot more ball and scored accordingly," Stuart said.
"They had a lot of football after that and came back and scored two tries. The game itself is about holding the footy. The competition is tough and any team can beat anyone on any day.
"We still need to improve but we know where we are at and what we need to do."
Croker collected his 100th career try during the Raiders' second win of the season.
"He knows what I think about him," Stuart said.
"He is a very humble guy who doesn't get the accolades he deserves but he knows the respect I have for him."
Eels coach Brad Arthur was left ruing his side's poor first half with squandered possession making it mission impossible.
"That 20-minute period killed us," Arthur said.
"We had no ball and they had four or five sets in a row. We lacked urgency to get on loose balls and it is frustrating because we can't play good in just patches.
"We need to do it for 80 minutes. I would be devastated if we rolled over and we are trying hard but we need to be more patient."
Canberra Raiders 30 (Sia Soliola, Blake Austin, Joey Leilua, Jarrod Croker, Nick Cotric tries; Jarrod Croker 5 goals) def. Parramatta Eels 18 (Bevan French, Josh Hoffman, Kaysa Pritchard tries; Clint Gutherson 3 goals) at GIO Stadium.