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Injuries, slow start proves costly for Rabbitohs

The South Sydney Rabbitohs were left to lick their wounds after finding themselves on the wrong end of a 32-12 scoreline against the Canberra Raiders at Apex Oval, Dubbo.

The first play of the game set the tempo of what would be a tough afternoon at the office, with Junior Tatola coming off second best in a tackle attempt on Josh Papalii, forcing him out of the game with a failed HIA.

Numbers were reduced to 15 after 28 minutes with Taane Milne facing a similar fate as a head knock brought his afternoon unstuck.

They were two cruel blows for Souths, who failed to recover from the loss of Tatola, as Canberra made major inroads through the middle of the field.

Tatola's injury brought Liam Knight into the game earlier than expected, punching out a solid 41 minutes.

Junior's absence was felt for the remainder of the contest, with Souths missing his go forward with the ball in hand and workload in defence.

Four first half tries made things extremely difficult to come back for the Rabbitohs, with possession gifted back to the Raiders at regular intervals.

Souths completed just 11 of their 18 sets in the first 40 minutes to hold just 40% of possession, and 30 missed tackles not helping the cause.

Completion rate has been an issue at times this season, and unfortunately giving too much ball back to a team full of confidence like the Raiders set up an insurmountable task as they fell behind by 20 points at the break.

Cook makes something out of nothing

Damien Cook and Kodi Nikorima, who came into the game midway through the first half after the departure of Milne, both showed signs of life in the second half and tried to spark things, leading to some minor highlights in front of the Dubbo crowd.

Cook's try in the 51st minute was particularly spectacular, busting through a handful of defenders to get South Sydney on the board.

They needed to be the next to score to sustain pressure and keep the faint hopes of a comeback alive, but it wasn't to be.

It continues a trend of six consecutive losses of games where the Rabbitohs have trailed at the break, with Souths winning all five matches they have led after 40 minutes.

They'll be hoping to be in front at the 40th and 80th minute marks when they host the Wests Tigers on Saturday afternoon, seeking revenge for a one-point loss back in round seven.

NRL Press Conference: Rabbitohs v Raiders - Round 11, 2022

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