Some expected the Bunnies to have too much fire-power in Sydney, but it was the complete opposite as the Raiders ran riot.
After some early try scoring exchanges for both teams, it looked like being a high scoring game and unlike the Sharks/Eels and Tigers/NZ game, this was a highly entertaining affair as the men from the ACT turned on several tries that were highly skillful.
With so many tries scored from kicks in the NRL these days, the Raiders turned back the clock and ran several tries in through the hands. Plenty of second phase footy with some houdini like offloads to keep the ball alive saw them open up space in the Bunnies defence line.
With Issac Luke starting off the bench for Souths, they looked a little too relaxed early on. It wasn’t until Pettybourne and Luke were subbed on that the Rabbitohs began to hit with any sting.
In the first half, the Raiders scored a nice try through a perfectly constructed set play. David Milne turning on the after burners to take a short ball off his hip and split the Rabbitohs easily.
The Bunnies were still in the game at half time after touching down for 3 quickfire tries, but they never looked comfortable. They kicked out on the full at one stage from the restart and simply didn’t display interest in the contest for the most part.
The Raiders looked to be enjoying themselves, with the likes of Tom Learoyd Lahrs having a big impact with and without the ball. The former Broncos forward hammering Asotasi at one stage with a classic try saver from 5m out, then finishing off with a nice try at the back end of the game.
Canberra were well served by their forwards tonight, their speedy and skilful outside backs are well respected in the League, but unless their pack aims up – its all for nothing.
But with Bronson Harrison given a licence to roam closer to the edges, he was giving the Bunnies nightmares as their little men tried to stop his big rolls. Harrison getting some great offloads away, one in particular a great basketball style pass to setup his team for the touchdown.
The win for the Canberra side was made even more impressive by the fact that NSW Origin rep Terry Campese wasn’t there to guide the side around, half Marc Herbert doing a good job in the absence of his teammate.
Joel Monaghan sent a messge to Origin selectors, having an imposing game on the wing and proving a handful for most of the night. Monaghan too proving impossible to wrap up with the ball – the second phase an obvious directive tonight from coach David Furner.
For Souths, it was an alarming loss.
The Bunnies struggled against the Eels last week and again they looked down on drive. They boast good depth and coach Jason Taylor needs to leverage that to get the right guys in the side on the night.
With John Sutton and Chris Sandow back, the Bunnies should have thrown much more at Canberra, certainly with it being a home game and all.
Sutton was slightly off with his kicking, but can be forgiven after a recent layoff with injury.
The Raiders cruise into next week with the bye and already leapfrog the Eels and Tigers on the NRL Ladder.
For Souths, its a horror road trip – they travel to Townsville to meet the Cowboys and will surely be fearing that one. If they drop that game, it could almost be battle stations as they fight for inclusion somewhere in the Top 8.