Match day guide and preview for the Raiders NRL Round 8 game against the Rabbitohs.
Who, when and where?
Canberra Raiders vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Thursday 29 April, 7.50pm
GIO Stadium Canberra, ACT
Ladder position and recent form
Canberra Raiders 8th | 137 points for | 151 points against | 3 wins & 4 losses | LLLWL
After winning their first two games of the season, the Raiders have now lost four of their last five matches, including their last three straight.
They looked like they were getting back to their best in the first half against the Cowboys last week, leading 24-6 late in the half. However, they looked lethargic after the break and didn’t score a point in the second forty as they lost 26-24.
For a side that many people were expecting to finish top four, the Raiders seem a long way off the pace at the moment and are in need of a win here.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 3rd | 201 points for | 104 points against | 6 wins & 1 loss | WWWWW
The Rabbitohs were the most hyped team in the preseason, and they are living up to those expectations with a fantastic start to the season.
Their only blemish came in Round one, but they have reeled off six straight wins since to sit comfortably in the top four.
Despite the impressive record, their last two games against the Tigers and Titans have come down to the wire so they are certainly gettable.
After three straight defeats, the Raiders will be without two of their leaders in Jarrod Croker and Josh Papalii for the crucial clash.
Croker has been ruled out for up to a fortnight with a shoulder injury while Papalii has been rested in a hope he will return to the ‘old Papa’.
Croker had been battling for form since returning from shoulder surgery in round 3 and Seb Kris is a more than capable replacement.
Joe Tapine returns to the bench after being dropped for last week while Bailey Simonsson comes back onto the wing.
Corey Harawira-Naera gets another shot in the second row with Hudson Young named on the bench.
With both usual captains out in Croker and Josh Hodgson, Elliott Whitehead will skipper the side.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
With Latrell Mitchell still suspended, Cody Walker has officially been selected at fullback with Benji Marshall at five-eighth.
Last 5 meetings
- 2020 Round 11: Raiders 18 – 12 Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium
- 2019 Preliminary Final: Raiders 16 – 10 Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium
- 2019 Round 10: Raiders 12 – 16 Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium
- 2018 Round 24: Raiders 24 – 12 Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium
- 2018 Round 7: Rabbitohs 42 – 22 Raiders at Central Coast Stadium
Interestingly, this will be the fifth game in a row the sides meet at GIO Stadium with the Raiders winning three of those previous four.
The most famous game was the 2019 Preliminary Final which saw Canberra book their first Grand Final spot in a close game in front of 26,567 fans.
The only match not played in Canberra saw the Rabbitohs smash the Raiders by 20 points on the Central Coast.
Their last encounter in 2020 was an even contest that saw the Raiders grind out a tight win in slippery conditions in front of just 1,629 fans.
The players to watch
Raiders – Joe Tapine
Tapine has become an instrumental player for the Raiders over the past couple of seasons but was dropped from the side last week.
He returns to the bench for Thursday night’s match and a player of his ability should be seething and ready to make a massive impact for his side.
The exact reason he was dropped hasn’t become public knowledge but if Tapine returns to his 2020 form, there’s no way he’ll be out of the team again.
Rabbitohs – Benji Marshall
Benji wound back the clock last week with a stunning second half display against the Titans.
He finished the match with two tries, one line break and three line break assists.
Playing alongside a game manager in Adam Reynolds allows Benji the freedom to use his natural ability to create scoring opportunities.
The Raiders will have to be wary of his creativity and also Cody Walker’s ability to chime in at fullback.
Other match details
The NRL match is live on Channel Nine and Fox League Channel 502. You can also stream it live on KAYO.
Gates open at 5.40pm. Click here for conditions of entry if attending.