South Sydney has maintained its winning streak and consolidated its position inside the NRL top four with a 34-20 triumph over the Raiders at Canberra Stadium.
- Alex Johnston scored two of the Rabbitohs’ five tries
- Adam Reynolds’s goal kicking was pivotal in the Rabbitohs’ win
- The Raiders have lost four consecutive matches
Alex Johnston — who scored two tries — starred for the Rabbitohs alongside fullback Cody Walker, veteran playmaker Benji Marshall and captain Adam Reynolds, who crucially kicked five conversions and two penalty goals.
The Rabbitohs have won seven straight matches, with their only loss coming against the Melbourne Storm in round one.
The home side made a late surge but two tries by five-eighth Jack Wighton were denied by the bunker to the dismay of much of the 14,260 crowd.
The Raiders have now lost four matches in a row.
Despite the late withdrawal of halfback George Williams due to a hamstring injury the Raiders and stand-in halfback Hudson Young managed to take an early lead.
They opened the scoring when winger Jordan Rapana completed a strong sweeping move in the sixth minute. And although the Rabbitohs hit back through winger Alex Johnston in the 17th minute, after a fumble by rookie fullback Caleb Aekins, the opening 45 minutes belonged to the Raiders.
Stand-in Raiders number six and captain Elliott Whitehead crossed in the 21st minute and centre Sebastian Kris extended the lead four minutes later.
But a bursting run by Campbell Graham saw the visitors hit back late in the first half and the Reynolds conversion took the sides to the break with Canberra leading 16-14.
The second half though was all South Sydney.
Dane Gagai crossed in the corner early in the second half and in another major show of strength, Johnston scored his second try out wide off a Cody Walker pass.
Reynolds successfully converted to take the score to 26-16 and then the Rabbitohs hit full throttle, with versatile second rower Jaydn Su’A seemingly putting the contest to bed on 59 minutes.
The Raiders attemped to muster a late fightback when Rapana scored his second try in the 65th minute to set up an exciting finish before Wighton crossed the line twice only to see the bunker rule out both efforts.
In further disappointing news for the hosts, winger Bailey Simonsson was placed on report for a dangerous lifting tackle.
AAP / ABC