The South Sydney Rabbitohs have made it seven wins in a row after overcoming a resurgent Canberra Raiders in the nation's capital on Thursday night. The Rabbitohs stormed home with three second-half tries in quick succession proving too much for the Raiders to handle.
The Raiders endured a rocky start to the match losing halfback George Williams in the warm-up forcing Elliot Whitehead from the back row into the halves, and their tough start continued after the kickoff when Hudson Young gave Souths a perfect opportunity to begin the game on the front foot, by spilling the ball while attempting an offload in Canberra's first set. The Rabbitohs would take an early lead when Adam Reynolds slotted a penalty conversion for a late shot by Ryan James on Cam Murray during the ensuing set.
The Raiders would turn it around quickly though and were the first team to cross for a four-pointer when winger and makeshift goal kicker Jordan Rapana crossed after an Adam Reynolds bomb went out on the full providing the Raiders multiple shots at the Rabbitohs line.
The Raiders defence was a feature early in the contest, as they turned the Rabbitohs potent attack around multiple times while defending their own line - until Caleb Aikens spilt the ball while attempting to field a Benji Marshall bomb. Pouncing on the opportunity, it was the man named Benji once again who laid on a bullet pass for Alex Johnston to cross untouched just 5 tackles later. Adam Reynolds nailed the conversion from the sideline & the score was 8 points to 4 with 20 minutes played.
The Raiders hit back hard a few minutes later through Elliot Whitehead who powered through an attempted tackle by Keaon Koloamatangi, before crossing again for their third when Sebastian Kris pounced on a Jack Whiton grubber that Jaxson Paulo was unable to clean up, bringing the scores to 16 - 8 after 28 minutes.
Cam Murray left the field with an ankle injury that would end his night shortly before the halftime break after being also being assessed for a HIA earlier in the match - but the Rabbitohs responded through Campbell Graham who crossed for his second try of the year a few minutes later by running a strong line onto a Cody Walker pass. The successful conversion by Adam Reynolds made it a 2 point ball game at the break, with the Raiders leading 16 points to 14.
The Rabbitohs left edge kicked into gear in the second half; Dane Gagai kicked the scoring off after 5 minutes when Adam Reynolds, Benji Marshall & Cody Walker combined to strip the Raiders' right edge of numbers & put the centre in for the score. Reynolds was dialled in from the touchline & the Rabbitohs led 20 points to 16. Ten minutes later, it was like history repeating with the same trio of Reynolds, Marshall & Walker putting Alex Johnston this time over for their second of the half. Reynolds once again knocked it over from the left touchline - & it was 26 - 26.
Match: Raiders v Rabbitohs
Round 8 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Jadyn Su'A got his first score of the year after fellow back-rower Keaon Koloamatangi stormed onto a pass delivered by Adam Reynolds who had carried the ball to the line & played a timely short ball, & when the halfback lined up for the conversion it was like he couldn't miss - as he shanked one that still managed to go between the sticks.
The Raiders hit back through Jordan Rapana after running the ball down the short side on the 5th tackle after some nice lead up play by Curtis Scott, but the try scorer was unable to convert & it was a 12 point game with 12 minutes left to play.
With 7 minutes to play the match was turned on its head when a towering bomb from Jack Whighton was too much to handle for the makeshift fullback Cody Walker, & Jacob Host was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul on the following tackle. The Dally M medalist from 2020 Jack Whighton appeared to cross and bring the scores to within 6 points with 5 minutes to play, but the bunker found that Benji Marshall was denied the opportunity to make a tackle & the try was disallowed.
A few minutes later & Wighton was over the line again, only to be found out for another obstruction by the bunker officials after he was found to have run behind Corey Harawira-Naera.
The Rabbitohs managed to close out the last few minutes of the game, with a late penalty to Adam Reynolds making the final score 34 points to 22, & setting up a huge rematch against the Melbourne Storm in a weeks time.