Rabbitohs race away to sink

Fulltime score: Round 23 RAIDERS 16 v RABBITOHS 29 Match summary: The South Sydney Rabbitohs have back to score five tries on the trot to defeat the Raiders 29-16 at a chilly Canberra Stadium tonight.

The Raiders opened the scoring with penalty goal after 10 minutes and followed up with two tries to lead 12-0 after 26 minutes. At that stage, it looked like Canberra were set to take control and run away with it.

But injuries to winger David Howell and in particular, front rower Josh Miller saw the already depleted Raiders' side on the back foot. Miller was later taken to hospital with a poppped shoulder.

Souths came back, gaining enough momentum to score just before the break.

At half time, the Raiders held a tenuous 12-6 lead.

With reports of a half time pep talk from actor Russell Crowe, the Rabbitohs looked a different side in the second half, scoring four more tries and putting the match beyond doubt.

A late try to the Raiders gave some respectability to the scoreline. But it was the Rabbitohs who had the last laugh when half back Ben Walker added to his 17-point personal tally with a field goal just before full time.

The result sees the Rabbitohs maintain the pace in their quest to avoid the wooden spoon - they kick five points clear of the Newcastle Knights who still have a match in hand.

This was a must-win match for the Raiders who now find themselves anchored on 22 points, four points out of the top eight. With three premiership rounds to play, the Raiders now have no realistic chance of making the cut.

Raiders v Rabbitohs match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game

Scorers: CANBERRA RAIDERS 16 Tries: Williams, Mogg, Graham Goals: Schifcofske 2/4 STH SYDNEY RABBITOHS 29 Tries: B Walker 2, Harrison, L MacDougall, Gordon Goals: B Walker 4/5 Field Goals: B Walker 1/1

Canberra Stadium Crowd: 8,405 Referee: Jason Robinson Half time: Raiders 12-6

Live commentary: 0 min: Kick off soon. Bitterly cold in Canberra tonight. Rabbitohs as per the card. Raiders will be without captain and forward Jason Croker, he will be replaced by Alan Rothery in the run on side and reports indicate that five eighth Jason Smith will be playing. A must-win match for the Raiders.

Kick off!

10 min: PENALTY GOAL - Raiders. Clinton Schifcofske makes no mistake. Souths putting together some nice sets but the Raiders looking more dangerous with some quick off-loads and getting the better run of play. OTHER NEWS - Winger David Howell (Raiders) comes off with a left ankle unjury. Raiders 2-0

20 min: NEWS - Raiders fairly dominant with almost 60% possession, they should be further in front. Meanwhile David Howell is still sidelined but is being given a few more minutes to come good.

23 min: TRY - Raiders. Jason Williams comes in off the bench and powers through to score. Schifcofske converts. Raiders 8-0

26 min: TRY - Raiders. Adam Mogg scores in the corner, running over the top of the defence. Worrying signs for Souths. Schifcofske conversion just misses. Raiders 12-0

35 min: NEWS - Still 12-0 to Raiders. Possession beginning to even up.

39 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Ben Walker scores. Conversion successful from Ben Walker.

Half time: Raiders 12-6 A good first half for the Raiders although they should have gone for the try early on instead of the penalty goal, the Rabbitohs were on the rack at the time. Souths did well, winning a handy slice of possession at the back-end of the half. Canberra really should be further ahead and at one point, looked set to run away with it. But credit to Souths who look to be making a game of it.

Second half underway...

45 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Ashley Harrison backs up to score. Ben Walker converts. 12-all

55 min: NEWS - Still 12-all in Canberra. Posessions now pretty close to even with the Raiders doing a little more of the tackling.

56 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Ben Walker gets a double and converts his own try. Big turnaround from Souths. News from the sheds is that actor/supporter Russsell Crowe gave the South Sydney boys a half time pep-talk. Rabbitohs 18-12

60 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Luke MacDougall scores out wide. Conversion unsuccessful Rabbitohs 22-12

68 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Centre Yileen Gordon scores. Conversion successful Rabbitohs 28-12

74 min: TRY - Raiders. Phil Graham scores out wide. Conversion unsuccessful. Rabbitohs 28-16

76 min: FIELD GOAL - Rabbitohs. Ben Walker puts the Rabbitohs 13 points in front. Rabbitohs 29-16

Full time Rabbitohs 29-16 Great second half from the Rabbitohs who kept the Raiders scoreless for more than half the match. Raiders can only wonder what could have been after leading 12-0 after 26 minutes. Souths came back well after doing most of the tackling early on with Prop forwards Scott Geddes and Peter Cusack being a standouts in the engine room. Cusack in particular made plenty of metres while doing his share of defence. Ben Walker posted a personal tally of 17 points and was tremendous at half back, defending well and setting up play. Ian Hindmarsh was the hardest worker in a beaten Raiders' pack, working up a storm in both defence and attack.

----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - P Cusack (Rabbitohs) 2 - B Walker (Rabbitohs) 1 - I Hindmarsh (Raiders) -----------------------------------------