The Raiders moved up to third on the ladder after a comprehensive 54-4 win against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Raiders started the stronger of the two sides scoring early before the Rabbitohs tried to fight their way back into the match. However, handling errors and poor discipline gifted the Raiders favourable field position and the partnership of Leilua and Rapana took the game away from South Sydney late in the first half.
The Rabbitohs couldn’t find a way back into the match in the second half, as the Raiders continued to pile on the tries to condemn the Rabbitohs to their 8th consecutive loss.
Elliot Whitehead was the first to score for the Raiders when a towering Aidan Sezer kick found Rapana. Wrapped up by the Rabbitohs defence, the winger offloaded to the Englishman who ran around the outside of Rapana to score unopposed.
The Rabbitohs were dealt a blow when Roosters-bound five-eighth, Luke Keary, suffered a left hamstring injury ten minutes into the first half and was forced out of the match.
The setback didn’t deter South Sydney as the piled the pressure on the Raiders defence, forcing consecutive line dropouts. However, the Raiders defence was strong before the Rabbitohs gifted the Raiders field position.
Jordan Rapana caught the Bunnies defence napping when running the ball out of dummy half to score. Croker made no mistake from the tee, sending the Steeden between the posts.
Edrick Lee scored an opportunistic try shortly later. Sezer’s grubber towards the in goal headed towards Croker, who stumbled as he tussled with his opposite number Aaron Gray. The opportunity appeared to be over as the ball bounced towards the dead ball line but Lee managed to reach it in time to score.
The Raiders right edge continued to have a field day with Leilua scoring a four pointer. An Adam Reynolds chip landed in the grateful hands of Clay Priest but the ball was dislodged from his hands by the kick chasers. 60 meters from the line, Leilua picked up the loose ball and ran through heavy traffic to score.
Rapana added a second right on halftime when Leilua’s grubber from dummy half caught the Rabbitohs by surprise. A successful Croker conversion saw the teams enter the sheds with the score 26-0.
The second half started in the same vein when a Cameron McInnes no-look pass missed its mark. Jack Wighton picked up the ball on the halfway mark and ran towards the in-goal to score.
The Rabbitohs didn’t give up and managed to score in the 55th minute via John Sutton. Playing at five-eighth for the injured Keary – Sutton fooled the Raiders defence with a dummy pass before scoring.
Jarrod Croker – playing on the wing for Edrick Lee who left the field due to a calf problem - scored in the left corner for the Raiders. Luke Bateman left the field a little dazed in the 66th minute, after tackling Adam Reynolds.
The changes didn’t affect the fluency of the Raiders attack as they shifted the ball from left to right before Austin straightened the attack to score. While that try came off a standard play, Elliot Whitehead scored a scintillating try minutes later.
Leilua combined with Rapana in the Raiders half to set the winger through towards the in goal. With only the fullback to beat, Rapana threw a pass around the corner which Whitehead latched onto to score his second of the match.
Solilola brought up the half century for the Green Machine by sprinting down the touchline to score. Croker successfully kicked the touchline conversion to stretch the winning margin to 50 points.
Raiders 54 (Tries: Whitehead 2, Rapana 2, Lee, Leilua, Wighton, Croker, Austin, Soliola Conversions: Croker 7/10)
Rabbitohs 4 (Tries: Sutton Conversions: Reynolds 0/1)