South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium, Sunday 2pm.
Souths desperate to stop the rot against unpredictable Canberra.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will be desperate to halt a 7 match losing streak when they host the visiting Canberra Raiders on Sunday afternoon.
It has been a treacherous last two months for Souths who have been unable to string together any cohesive performances and look a very different squad to the side that played finals football last season. Confidence is a huge thing in any sport and at the moment, the Rabbits are playing with zero of it. They did some good things last week against Manly and were unfortunate not to get more from the game, they will see this as a chance to really hit back considering how easily the Raiders can switch off in pivotal moments of games. Souths forward pack has been strong all year and expect to see them again lay a platform for these Souths backs to showcase their talents.
Canberra! They need to start installing defibrillators at every stadium that Canberra play at with the heart attacks they are giving their own supporters!
Up 22-4 with 10 minutes left against the New Zealand Warriors, the Raiders again blew their lead and let the Warriors run in 3 tries in just 9 minutes. This is starting to become a real issue for Canberra with their inability to finish off games or “fade” at the back end of matches causing them dramas. Against quality teams they won’t be given the opportunities they have this season to amend their mistakes, something to keep a close eye on as the finals approach.
That said, the Raiders are having a tremendous season despite this and have slotted into the top 4 as we speak, this is a big chance for them to retain that position and heap pressure on other teams as we lead into the finals. This team is a smokey and could cause some damage come finals time if they can play for 80 minutes.
Last Meeting: Canberra Raiders 30 Defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 at Barlow Park, Cairns, Round 8, 2015.
The Raiders got the spoils in last years only encounter but have lost 6 of the past 8 against the Rabbits.
At ANZ Stadium Canberra have come away with 11 wins in 19 trips to Homebush.
Who To Watch: For Souths if they want to win, they need their big forward pack to dominate through the middle. It has been their strength all season and they have the players capable of doing it. With some iffy play in the backs in recent weeks they will need to rely on their forward pack which has been consistent all year. One of these players is big bopper Nathan Brown who will add impact from the bench with his powerful runs and talented offloads. He runs with full force and won’t take a backward step, a real leader in the forwards that will go the extra mile. He so far this season is averaging 29 tackles a game as well as a tidy 96 metres, look for him to battle the big boys of the Canberra prop the only way Nathan Brown knows how… Head on.
Canberra are one of the most exciting sides to watch as their backs all have potential to cause damage single handedly. Having this at your disposal is a blessing for coach Ricky Stuart and is also very pleasing on the eye.
Focus on Joey Leilua to again cause damage with his wrecking ball style of running and fending. Leilua has been a revelation since his move to the nations capital and he has developed a great partnership with his winger Jordan Rapana who has benefited from the service that Leilua gives him. Watch on Sunday as “BJ” creates room with his powerful running style and aggressive fend against this suspect edge defence of the Rabbitohs. The fact that Leilua is averaging 123 metres a game, 14 hits up as well as having already scored 5 tries, made 5 line breaks and 6 try assists is proof that Leilua is having a career year.
The Favourite: Canberra firmed as strong favourites for this game despite being on the road.
My Tip: Canberra to put in a committed 80 minute performance against a Souths side that is already looking for mad Monday. If Souths don’t dominate the ruck and middle third of them field early, then this could get ugly.
Raiders by 13.
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