Raiders must beat Bunnies to eye finals

With just nine rounds of the NRL gone Raiders coach David Furner says Canberra must beat Souths on Monday if they are to finish in the top eight.

The injury ravaged Raiders are languishing in 14th position and face the last placed Rabbitohs at Canberra Stadium on Monday.

"Monday night is a huge test for the Raiders team and their character, and a win is almost certainly needed if we are to keep ourselves in top eight contention," Furner said, standing in for head coach Neil Henry who is in Queensland Origin camp.

Canberra will be without the flair and flexibility of Lincoln Withers who is out for the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the Raiders loss to the Roosters last weekend.

That's on top of a similar season ending injuries to classy fullback William Zillman and Phil Graham.

And forward Neville Costigan is a late omission from Monday's clash with a quad strain and will be replaced by tear away prop Dane Tilse.

It all reads like a hospital ward but for a group of unknown youngsters it reads like opportunity.

One of those youngsters is Canberra junior Cy Lasscock.

The 22-year-old played in the 2004 Australian Schoolboys side and is seen as a promising prop.

"I didn't think it would come this early but I'll be ready on Monday if I get a chance," Lasscock said.

"I've been playing some good footy for (Raiders feeder club) Souths Logan so I think I'm ready for it."

If the game is a must-win for Canberra than it is the same for the struggling Rabbits who will be playing with the memory of the great Jack Rayner firmly on their minds after the club and Australian legend died on Saturday night.

With frigid conditions predicted for the game it will be a big ask for the Rabbits who have won just two matches at Canberra Stadium.

Coach Jason Taylor took the side up into Sydney's Blue Mountains last weekend on their bye round desperate to continue their form turn-around following round eight's win against North Queensland.

"We are really looking forward to continuing in that vein down in Canberra," Taylor said.

He has made only two changes to the round eight side bringing back wingers Fetuli Talanoa and Shannon Hegarty who return from injury.

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