A milestone inspired Canberra Raiders proved far too hungry for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, cruising to a dominant 32-12 victory.

The return of Jack Wighton for Josh Papalii’s 250th NRL game provided an exciting preview for Canberra’s Sunday afternoon visit to Dubbo.

After hanging on by a thread last week, a disappointing second half effort was one sure to have left a fire in the bellies of the South Sydney camp, as they looked to overcome the illness struck Raiders.

It didn’t take long for Whiton’s returning presence to be appreciated, as he threw a magical pass to winger Nick Cotric to open the scoring inside the fifth minute. Brad Schneider’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

The milestone man, Papalii, carved his name into the scorebook after fifteen minutes, scoring a trademark try on the back of pure strength, coincidentally similar to what the star prop has built each of his 250 games on.

Schneider again failed to convert, this time missing a very simple opportunity.

A short dart from Tom Starling sent Hudson Young bursting through South Sydney’s line to score untouched, which brought a reward for the Raiders who were desperate for further points to show for their dominant start.

Schneider was sacked of his kicking duties, as Jordan Rapana took over and converted the simple kick.

A brilliant team try was produced by the Raiders which began through a late offload from Corey Horsburgh before some slick passing allowed Sebastian Kris to cap off Canberra’s solid first half.

Rapana again converted to send his side into the break with a 20-0 advantage.

Rapana got the Raiders off to a similar start in the second half to how they ended the first half, with a magical flick pass to Matthew Timoko, who had some work to do but rolled over for his fourth try of the season.

With the missed conversion, the challenge for the Rabbitohs seemed very large, as they trailed 24-0 with over half an hour to play.

South Sydney were able to hit back not long after with Damien Cook manufacturing a try all by himself through some crafty foot work.

The converted points minorly shrunk the deficit down to 18 points, with just under 30 minutes play available for South Sydney to mount a comeback.

Shortly following a gifted penalty conversion, Xavier Savage laid the icing on the cake as he burst through a fatigued South Sydney line to guarantee a hard earned 2 premiership points.

The move for Rapana to take the point-after kicks proved successful, as he knocked over another conversion to make it 32-6.

Consolation points appeared for the Rabbitohs, however, the points saw Alex Johnston move to equal second in the all time try scorers ranks for South Sydney, one of few positives for the hosts to take out of the afternoon.

The final ten minutes capped a strong victory for the Raiders, to cap off “an emotional week”, as described by Papalii post game as he reflected on his milestone.

A third straight victory for Canberra, as they head back home to the nation’s capital next week to face the in-form Parramatta Eels.

A disappointing loss for the Rabbitohs, and one which will undoubtedly hurt heading into the origin period where they will lose multiple key players.


South Sydney Rabbitohs 12
Tries – D. Cook, A. Johnston
Conversions – B. Taaffe 2/2

Canberra Raiders 32
Tries – N. Cotric, J. Papalii, H. Young, S. Kris, M. Timoko, X. Savage
Conversions – B. Schneider 0/2, J. Rapana 3/4
Penalty goals – J. Rapana 1/1

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Josh Papalii (CAN)

2. Hudson Young (CAN) 

1. Tom Starling (CAN)

Canberra Raiders back-rower Hudson Young

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