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The Canberra Raiders have continued on their winning ways after beating the South Sydney Rabbitohs 34-12 at Aussie Stadium last night. Canberra were far from their best but they did enough to get the two points and now look to next week?s clash against the Melbourne Storm at Olympic Park.
Canberra were missing Jason Croker, a late withdrawal through injury with Mark McLinden coming into the starting side and his man of the match performance should see him retain the coveted five eighth spot for the remainder of the season.
Canberra?s error rate was unusually high and had they played a team like the Roosters, there would have been no mercy shown. Matt Elliott would have been happy to come away with the two points but there seemed to be a level of complacency not seen in Raiders games to date. Canberra tried to push the miracle push on many occasions and looked to underestimate their opponents. Souths forwards took it to the Raider for much of the match but the Raiders exploited Souths left hand side with many breaks that eventually lead to tries coming as a result.
In the second half Canberra resorted to their simple game plan and it worked. Effective running from Ruben Wiki, Ian Hindmarsh, Michael Hodgson and Ryan O?Hara saw the Raiders eventually steamroll Souths, but the scoreline was not a true indication of the way Souths played. The Rabbitohs were competitive for the full 80 minutes but lack the genuine playmaker to make it all come together. Bryan Fletcher had a mighty game as did Frank Puletua and Paul Stringer but some of the backs really let the side down. Chris Walker and Lee Hookey will be lucky to hold their place in first grade next week and may be spared their head on a chopping block through sheer lack of options.
In the end, Canberra?s class shone through with Ryan O?Hara making a strong case for Origin selection while Adam Mogg emerged from the shadows to stamp himself as an explosive runner and an outside chance at a Maroons jersey.
Canberra are now only four wins away from qualifying for the semi finals and with some tough opponents looming, the Raiders can finally earn the respect of the public with some victories over more fancied opposition.