The Canberra Raiders continued the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ early-season woes with a commanding 30-18 victory at ANZ Stadium this afternoon.
The Raiders dominated the first half, racing to a 22-0 lead and held on to record their second win of the season.
The Raiders opened the scoring with an unconverted try to winger Reece Robinson in the 12th minute before extending their lead with Robinson’s second after 20 minutes. Croker converted and the Raiders led 10-0.
A close range try to Raiders prop Dane Tilse increased the margin after 27 minutes. Croker added the extras and it was all the Raiders, who led 16-0.
Anthony Milford spun and weaved and ducked around the Rabbitohs defence to score his sides’ 4th try just 4 minutes out from half time. Croker converted and the Raiders enjoyed a 22-0 lead after the first 40 minutes.
Their brilliant half was soured somewhat with an elbow injury to Shaun Fensom that prevented him from returning for the second half.
The Rabbitohs were first to score in the second half with a converted try to five eighth Dylan Walker in the 47th minute. The Raiders should have pushed further in front shortly after but winger Bill Tupou spilt the ball over the line as he tried to put the ball down with one hand.
Raiders fans must have been getting worried when George Burgess barged over from close range to get his side back in the contest. Reynolds converted to make it 22-12.
Rabbitohs winger Nathan Merritt was denied a record breaking 145th try when the video referee ruled that Sam Burgess was offside from a John Sutton grubber in the lead up. He will have to wait until next week to break Benny Wearing’s club try scoring record of 144, and how fitting that they play the St George Illawarra Dragons at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
With 20 minutes to go, Jack Wighton scored an important try under the posts, although replays suggested Raiders centre Mitch Allwood may have knocked the ball on as he challenged for a bomb. Still, the Raiders played to the whistle, and Croker’s conversion made it 28-12.
With 10 minutes remaining a Raiders penalty goal made it 30-12 and the the Rabbitohs scored on the stroke of full time through Chris McQueen to finish the game on a positive note.
A good win for the Raiders who have been more than competitive in each of their games, while the Rabbitohs looked very ordinary and are languishing down in 13th position after making the last two preliminary finals.
Canberra Raiders 30 (Robinson 2, Milford, Wighton, Tilse tries; Croker 5 goals) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 (Walker, G.Burgess, McQueen tries; Reynolds 3 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Crowd:16,032