It's been a fast first 40... Let's revisit all the big talking points from the opening half.
Taking Their Chances
This match has been played with high intensity and quality with Canberra completing at 72% compared to Souths 83%. It's a remarkable feat considering the greasy and cold conditions down in the Nation’s Capital. One area that separated the sides however was efficiency in the respective attacking areas of the field, known as ‘good ball’. Early in the half the Canberra capitalised on their attacking opportunities converting two early raids into points, both through kicks that ricocheted off a Rabbitoh. Conversely, the Rabbitohs had two attacking opportunities early in the first forty but weren’t able to come up with points; with raids down both edges. The trend would turn later in the half when our boys would take the lead - but efficiency in ‘good ball’ will very likely be where the game is won or lost.
The first name that is highlighted on the tip sheet whenever you play the Canberra Raiders is likely Josh Papalii - and the man who played a huge part in sinking our grand final dreams in 2019 is again public enemy number one tonight. He provided a tough initiation to first grade for young Jack Johns in his first NRL hit-up, and was a handful whenever he carried the ball consistently bending our defensive line. With a huge motor, Papalii will continue to be a player to contain in order for the Rabbitohs to come home with a win.
Jack Johns was the centre of attention all week following news of his NRL debut. A five-eighth turned back-rower, Johns was thrown into the action earlier than anticipated following an HIA to fullback, Alex Johnston. Corey Allan was moved to fullback with Gagai reverting to the wing and Bayley Sironen in the unfamiliar position of left centre. With AJ failing his HIA assessment and being ruled out for the night, the versatility of the young Rabbitohs edge men will be under the spotlight.
Gagai shows his finishing prowess
Milestones a Plenty.
Earlier in the week it was a dream game for any Rabbitoh historian with Burgess bringing up game number 150 for the Club, Su’a's 50 NRL match and Jack Johns' first. Well that grew an extra leg for Adam Reynolds when he clocked up over 1,500 career points for the Club after he converted his own try in the 26th minute. He currently sits behind the one and only Eric Simms (1,841 points) but will surely be a shot at breaking that record later in his career.
Reynolds gets the Bunnies into the lead
Turning Defence into Attack
Both sides have hit back against the run-of-play which has put their side back on the attack. Firstly when Jarrod Croker streamed down the left hand touch line and then when Dane Gagai made a half break after Nic Cotric looked destined to score.