The South Sydney Rabbitohs have defeated the Canberra Raiders 36-22 in a match that had to be stopped early due to a heavy hailstorm that resulted in a flooded Erskineville Oval.
Devon Makoare-Boyce starred for the Rabbitohs at fullback as he scored two tries and was always a threat to the Raiders defence.
The Rabbitohs began the game with a fast paced attitude as they earned back to back penalties early and almost went in to score through Jacob McCudden in the 6th minute of the game.
Just a minute later, Jordie Hedges caught the Raiders defence out by throwing a wonderful pass to Clayton Williams who muscled his way over under the posts. Hedges converted the try to make it 6-0.
A forward pass off the kickoff meant the Raiders had an immediate opportunity to hit back, and they did when Cameron Booth was on the end of a brilliant cutout pass by Brenko Lee to score in the left corner. Zac Woolford missed the kick and the score remained 6-4.
The Rabbitohs defence was under the pump in this period of the game, as Luke Bateman made a linebreak straight of the kickoff, and the Raiders side marched down the field and earned a repeat set through a dropout.
Eventually in the 22nd minute Booth scored his second try of the afternoon, giving the Raiders the lead for the first time. Jordyn Ballard took the conversion and slotted it from the sideline to make it 10-6 to the Raiders.
Just five minutes later, the Rabbitohs hit back when Haimona Hiroti skipped through the defence and scored a solo try, which was off the back of a fantastic run by Dominic Timoteo. Hedges regained the lead to 12-10 after he converted the try.
The Rabbitohs then scored off the kickoff set after Aaron Booth picked up a loose ball and passed it to a runaway Makoare-Boyce who put the ball down under the posts, leaving an easy conversion for Hedges to increase the lead to 18-10.
Cameron Booth completed his hatrick for the Raiders in the 35th minute when he took a cross-field bomb and planted the ball down. Ballard converted to make it 18-16 to the Rabbitohs which was the halftime score.
The second half began poorly for the Rabbitohs as the Raiders registered their fourth try of the match in the opening two minutes through Ballard. Dylan McGrath was the third kicker of the day for the Raiders, and he was successful in his attempt to give the Raiders a 22-18 lead.
The rest of the game was all the Rabbitohs, scoring a further 18 unanswered points before the storm hit.
Wallace Tangiiti scored in the 50th minute when he re-gathered a ball that rebounded off a Raiders defender. Hedges put the Rabbitohs back into the lead with a conversion to make it 24-22.
Timoteo threw an optimistic offload behind him just four minutes after the last try, and Makoare-Boyce proved his finishing ability by evading various defenders to get through and score his second try of the afternoon. Hedges converted to make it 30-22.
Makoare-Boyce was the victim of an accidental yet brutal high tackle with 20 minutes remaining and had to be taken off the field.
In the 67th minute, Tangiiti scored his second try in 17 minutes on the right hand side of the field. Hedges continued his perfect goal kicking record of the afternoon, making it six from six.
The first half was played in beautiful conditions, and it started to lightly rain at half time, but by the 75th minute of the game it began to vigorously hail and the rain was torrential.
When it got to the point where the players could not see each other on the field, and the hail was so heavy that it was deemed dangerous, the referees called the players off the field in a hope it would stop soon to complete the game.
The storm however caused Erskineville Oval to flood, making it impossible to play on even if the storm did stop.
The game therefore was called off early, however the Rabbitohs were up 36-22 with less than five minutes remaining, so they were deservedly awarded the victory.
This impressive Rabbitohs win was their third of the season, and will face the last placed Dragons at ANZ Stadium next game on Monday the 11th of May.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 36 (Devon Makoare-Boyce 2, Wallace Tangiiti 2, Clayton Williams, Haimona Hiroti tries; Jordie Hedges 6 goals)
Canberra Raiders 22 (Cameron Booth 3, Jordyn Ballard tries; Jordyn Ballard 2, Dylan McGrath 1 goals)