An undermanned Canberra Raiders outfit poured more pressure on the struggling South Sydney Rabbitohs last night with a comprehensive 38-10 in the ACT. The loss leaving Souths with just a single victory for 2008 and pretty much ending any miracles of them sneaking into the Top 8 this season.
The Raiders were led well by their big men upfront, especially in the opening stanza to lay a strong platform and give their backs plenty of time and space to move.
Their was a bit of physical stuff in this match, Souths Roy Asotasi being hit high early on by Scott Logan in a tackle that was missed by all officials. The hit stung Asotasi and the Souths forward was immediately on the back foot with claret everywhere after the tackle.
Asotasi could also find himself in hot water, with some believing he tried a few chicken wing tackles at various stages – Raiders boss Don Furner confirming he thought as much.
“I thought it was pretty clear,” Furner said.
“I’m sure (coach) Neil (Henry) will look at it.”
Souths were dealt a body blow when the Raiders scored inside the first minute on their final tackle play of set 1. Getting a horror bounce, Souths spewed the kick catch and allowed Joel Monaghan to run around and score under the posts. The play would have hurt any NRL team, let alone one struggling for confidence.
Coach Jason Taylor remained composed after the loss, he was a little bewildered that their preparation had been strong but they pretty much were beaten by lack of possession.
“We found it hard to get it down our end,” Taylor said.
“It was just weight of possession. In the end the score board ticked over. It won’t get any easier in this competition.”
Skipper Asotasi offered a more serious assessment.
“It seems like we come out there and just don’t want to win. Canberra came out there and wanted to win this game.”
The win was ideal for Canberra, lacking up to 8 first grade players – they now skip into a bye next week and remain in touch with the Top 8 teams.
Henry, back home from Queensland Origin camp, praised his side which had nine first graders out through injury including hooker Lincoln Withers who was last weekend ruled out for the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
“The depth is still there,” Henry said.
“We started on the right foot (with our forwards).”
Workhorse captain Alan Tongue, who came off with 10 minutes to go after having his head driven into the turf by Souths five-eighth Dean Widders, was delighted with the team effort.
“We started well (and) put a lot of pressure on them early,” he said.
For the Raiders the spoils were shared with Joel Monaghan scoring two tries and the rest going to a mixture of forwards and backs.
Monaghan claimed the first four pointer inside the first minute of the game and the Raiders never gave up the lead with forwards Turner and Neville Costigan helping themselves to tries to give Canberra a 24-4 lead at half-time.
Taylor’s half-time spray failed to ignite the Rabbitohs’ lacklustre defence and unimaginative attack and things don’t get any easier this weekend with a match against defending premiers Melbourne.