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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Determined Raiders hold off Bunnies

The Canberra Raiders held the South Sydney Rabbitohs scoreless in the second half to record a hard fought 18-12 victory in wet conditions at GIO Stadium on Saturday night, 25 July.

The Raiders goal line defence was exceptional as they came back from 12-10 down at half time for their second straight victory.

The Raiders managed the first try after Jordan Rapana deliberately knocked the ball back from a Jack Wighton kick which saw Nick Cotric scoop the ball up and score in the corner to give the Raiders a 4-0 lead after 7 minutes.

6 minutes later, Wighton put through another kick and Jarod Croker showed tremendous skill to pick up a loose ball in slippery conditions and score a try to extend the Raiders lead to 10-0.

The Rabbitohs then gained ascendency with some solid defence and were rewarded in the 21st minute when Dane Gagai crosses over in the corner to bring the score back to 10-6.

The Rabbitohs has their second try in the 25th minute when Adam Reynolds scored a simple try and converted his own try to give the Rabbitohs a 12-10 lead which they would carry into half time.

The Raiders earned a penalty close to the goals and Croker took the two points to level it up at 12-12 after 47 minutes.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was forced from

the field after suffering a gruesome finger injury, forcing the Raiders to reshuffle their backline with Rapana shifting to fullback and first gamer Harley Smith-Shields coming onto the field in the centres.

Both sides were struggling to attack with effectiveness in the tough conditions and it took a fortuitous deflection for the Raiders to break the deadlock.

Elliott Whitehead attempted a grubber close to the line and ball ricocheted off a Rabbitohs defender and fell straight into the arms of Semi Valemei who crossed over in the corner for his first try in the NRL and give the Raiders an 18-12 lead after 56 minutes.

The Rabbitohs gained control of the field position and had plenty of chances to level the scores but the Raiders goal line defence was too good.

Jordan Rapana left the field for an HIA after a heavy collision with his own man Valemei which meant the Raiders were down to their third choice fullback, Cotric, with 8 minutes to go.

The Rabbitohs had one last chance with good field position in the final minute, but a one on one strip from Dunamis Lui sealed the 18-12 win for the Raiders.

With the Raiders missing several forwards, Josh Papalii, Joe Tapine and Lui were sensational in the middle for Canberra and were the driving force behind the win.

Injuries have plagued the Raiders all season and now Nicoll-Klokstad is expected to miss 1-2 weeks with his finger injury but their could be some relief in the form of Corey Harawira-Naera and John Bateman set time come into the side in the next couple of weeks.

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