Canberra Raiders 18
Tries: Sami Sauiluma, Jarrod Croker, Anthony Milford
Goals: Jarrod Croker 3/4
South Sydney Rabbitohs 34
Tries: Alex Johnston 2, Adam Reynolds 2, Bryson Goodwin 2, Dylan Walker
Goals: Adam Reynolds 3/7
From the moment these two teams stepped out into the frosty weather at GIO Stadium in the capital state, this was always a game to be won by sheer determination and desperation.
Almost immediately those factors kicked in with Jarrod Croker choosing to go with a penalty goal from 10m out after being awarded a penalty.
With the scoring now open, the Rabbitohs immediately avenged themselves when powerhouse centre-wing Dylan Walker barging through a gap in the Raiders defence to make it a two-point game.
Adam Reynolds’ failed attempt at a conversion was overshadowed largely when after his brilliant high-kick 19 year old Alex Johnston made the perfect catch and put-down to start a half of nothing but trouble for the Canberra boys.
The first half saw a carnage from injuries with George Burgess and Kyle Turner brought off for injuries, while John Sutton’s sidelining proved a huge opportunity for interchange halfback Luke Keary to be brought on as he continues a battle for the number 7 jersey with teammate Adam Reynolds. David Tyrell was also sidelined putting his 100th first-grade NRL game to a halt at the 24th minute.
Silly penalties from the Raiders gave Bryson Goodwin his 12th career try for the Rabbitohs when in the 28th minute a series of quick hands from a cross field scrum boosted the Rabbitohs to a 12-2 lead.
And it only got worse for the Ricky-Stuart-lead team in the second half as another beauty of a kick from Souths halfback Reynolds gave Dylan Walker the chance to grubber the ball from in front of the try line, only for the ball to come to a halt and for Alex Johnston to put it down.
Adam Reynolds continued on with his unusual kicking rate of 0% making it 0/4 following Johnston’s try.
The Rabbitohs’ defence barely absorbed any sort of threat during the game until the 54th minute where following a line dropout, Raiders winger Sami Sauiluma took out the corner post while performing a superman-like try. The video referee later granted this work of art a highly controversial 4 points following grounding concerns.
The tides then turned for a then-attacking Raiders when Souths regained possession and almost immediately a spectacular flick pass from Dylan Walker to Alex Johnston gave the South Sydney junior a clear run for the try-line. The ball was then passed to Adam Reynolds who then managed to finish off the goods with a try under the posts and a conversion that went above the posts.
An AFL worthy mark from Bryson Goodwin off a high kick followed by a try gave South Sydney arguably the game winning points in the 65th minute. Shortly after, a brilliant offload from QLD Origin star Greg Inglis gave Adam Reynolds once again another opportunity to convert the goods from below and above the posts, which he performed comfortably.
But just as it looked the game was over, the spectacular game of Rugby League just kept on giving when in the 77th minute Jarrod Croker, Josh McCrone and Reece Robinson all played their part in a try that saw the Canberra team reach double digits.
Then just before full time, soon-to-be-Bronco Anthony Milford kicked his attacking flair into full gear with a spectacular charge for the line which saw the Raiders finish with a score line just more than half of the Rabbitohs one.