Harold Matthews (Under 16s)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 30 defeated Canberra Raiders 28 at Northbourne Oval, Braddon
An out of character first half performance proved the catalyst for the Canberra Raiders two point loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday afternoon.
The Raiders came out of the blocks extremely slowly in the first stanza as the Rabbitohs raced to a 26-0 lead due to five unanswered tries.
“South Sydney came out firing and were very, very enthusiastic,” Raiders Coach Adam Kyle said. “They carried the ball really hard and our boy struggled to win the ground.
“Souths are really good around the middle of the field. Their forwards carried the ball hard and won the ground on most occasions. We just never seemed to get going in the first half and Souths capitalised a few times on back-to-back sets.”
Whilst disappointed with the first half effort, Kyle was extremely proud of the way the boys fought back in the second stanza.
The Green Machine fought back to win the second half 28-4 and this effort saw them only marginally lose the encounter by just two points.
“We were happy with the second half performance but explained to the boys that we can't just play 30 minutes (junior representative matches go for 60 minutes),” Kyle said. “Good teams will punish us if we only play for half a game.
“At halftime, we encouraged the boys to get a little bit tighter around the middle and get in front when trying to make tackles. We also wanted to see a little bit of character from the boys and the way in which they fought back was really encouraging to see in that second half.
“Once again it's a real learning experience for the boys and one that we hope we can fix.”
The loss sees the Raiders slump from second place on the ladder to fourth.
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Raiders will look to amend the necessary flaws in their game before the semi-finals commence.
“We just need to start the match well this weekend,” Kyle said. “South-West Sydney are a very good team and I'm sure they will watch our game on the weekend and be trying to get at our middle so we need to make sure that we're up to the challenge and prepare to get our bodies in front of the ball carrier.”
South Sydney 32 (Henry-Siriah Fuimaono 2, Johnny Mitsias 2, Reece Macintosh, Blake Manowski tries; Dean Hawkins 3, Mawene Hiroti goals) def. Canberra 30 (Lachlan Cooper, Sebastian Kris, Mathew Lyons, Christopher Shingles, Jedidiah Simbiken, Bailey Simonsson tries; Jese Smith-Shield 3 goals)
SG Ball (Under 18s)
Canberra Raiders 38 defeated South Sydney 0 at Northbourne Oval, Braddon
The Canberra Raiders have retained their place in the top eight after an emphatic 38-0 victory over the South Sydney Rabbitohs at home.
With the Rabbitohs coming 3rd place on the ladder leading into the fixture, the Raiders were preparing for one of their most arduous tests of the season given that they faced the possibility of being forced from the top eight.
Coach Peter Marrapodi would no doubt be thrilled with the way in which his troops responded to the challenge.
Whilst the Raiders were at their attacking best, Marrapodi would be most proud of Canberra’s defensive display.
Leading into the match, the Rabbitohs were ranked as the fourth best attacking team in the SG Ball competition however South Sydney failed to penetrate the Raiders defensive structure for the entire match.
The defensive display paved the way for Canberra to register six unanswered tries with monstrous front-rower Jiordan Fidow-Kele posting a double.
Star five-eighth Lachlan Croker also featured prominently on the score sheet with the Goulburn junior compiling 14 points from one try and five conversions.
The win now places the Raiders at 7th place on the ladder and keeps their semi-final aspirations well and truly on track.
Canberra 38 (Jiordan Fidow-Kele 2, Lachlan Croker, Ben Maguire, Tyrone Nathan, Jack Williams, Zachary Woolford tries; Lachlan Croker 5 goals) def. South Sydney 0