A surprise result has seen the Canberra Raiders capitalise on a first half shut-out of the South Sydney Rabbitohs today at ANZ Stadium, eventually winning 30-18 in front of more than 16,000 fans.
Looking to avoid their third straight defeat, the Rabbitohs came home to ANZ to play a Raiders side keen to atone for their own poor showing against the Gold Coast. It was the Raiders who started the better though, a double strike for Reece Robinson early saw the visitors lead 10-0. The Raiders' strong kicking game delivered results and they went on with it in the first half despite the loss of Shaun Fensom around the half-hour mark with an arm injury.
Dane Tilse and Anthony Milford both added themselves to the scoresheet before halftime with close-range tries - big Tilse barging over near the posts while Milford held off several defenders to plant the ball down out wide. The result of all this was a 22-0 halftime lead for the Raiders over a Rabbitohs side riddled with errors and a poor completion rate.
Following their first half dominance the Raiders looked more tired as the second half kicked off - and the Rabbitohs looked to take full advantage. Two tries inside the first fifteen minutes after resumption gave the home fans plenty of hope, with George Burgess and Dylan Walker making easy work of some uncharacteristically poor Canberra defence.
The game turned not longer after though, with two crucial video decisions going against the Rabbitohs - first an offside call on Sam Burgess denying Nathan Merritt a record-breaking try in the corner later in the play, then at the other end a highly contentious call regarding an aerial contest going the way of the Raiders despite a fair amount of evidenceto the contrary resulting in a try to Canberra #6 Jack Wighton.
A penalty goal extended the Raiders lead to 18 before a Rabbitohs' consolation try to Chris McQueen on the fulltime siren reduced it to twelve - Canberra finishing 30-18 victors.
Next week the Rabbitohs shift focus to a huge clash with the Dragons at the SCG on Saturday night, while on the same night, Canberra have their own Heritage Round clash in a 1991 Grand Final re-match with Penrith at Sportingbet Stadium.