Raiders keep finals hopes alive with victory over Rabbitohs

Canberra Raiders have kept their finals hopes alive with a 32-18 victory over the disappointing South Sydney Rabbitohs today at ANZ Stadium.

South Sydney’s squad was as named last Tuesday, while Kurt Baptiste moved into Canberra’s starting side at loose forward with Luke Bateman dropping back to the bench.

After a fumbling start from the Rabbitohs Jarrod Croker opened the scoring from a smart Blake Austin pass and he added a penalty goal to give the Raiders an 8-0 lead after 17 minutes.

When Joe Tapine scored the Raiders’ lead was extended to 14 points, but the Rabbitohs replied on 26 minutes when Cody Walker touched down his own grubber.

Croker then put Nick Cotric over in the corner to put the Raiders 20-6 ahead, and it remained that way until the break.

Souths skipper Sam Burgess was taken from the field just after half-time with a ribs problem, which he had come into the game.

Tyrell Fuimaono pounced on a Reynolds grubber to bring the Rabbitohs back to 12-20 but Souths’ hopes were dealt a blow in the 58th minute as Nik Cotric’s break ended with Crichton making a try-saving tackle but being sinbinned for holding the Raiders’ winger down too long.

The Raiders then scored two quick tries through Luke Bateman and former Penrith and Catalans winger Michael Oldfield on his club debut, who scored from a great Aidan Sezer pass, before Alex Johnston scored a consolation try for South Sydney right on full-time.

‌Rabbitohs: 1 Alexander Johnston, 2 Bryson Goodwin, 3 Hymel Hunt, 4 Tyrell Fuimaono, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 David Tyrrell, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Samuel Burgess (c); Interchange: 14 Robbie Farah, 15 Cameron Murray, 16 Kyle Turner, 17 George Burgess

Tries: Walker, Fuimaono, Jonhston; Goals: Reynolds 3

Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nikola Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Michael Oldfield, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aiden Sezer, 8 Junior Paulo, 9 Josh Hodgson, 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Joseph Tapine, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 14 Kurt Baptiste; Interchange: 13 Luke Bateman, 15 Clay Priest, 16 David Taylor, 17 Jeff Lima

Tries: Croker, Tapine, Cotric, Bateman, Oldfield; Goals: Croker 6

Monday’s edition of League Express, available in the shops or online, will feature full coverage of all the weekend’s NRL matches.