Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.

Ricky Stuart said South Sydney's ability to win games against the odds this season can be directly traced back to the influence of coach Wayne Bennett and he expects nothing to change in Friday night's preliminary final.

The Rabbitohs outscored Manly 14-0 in the final 12 minutes last weekend to ensure their season stayed alive.

It's a performance like that, and Bennett's experience, which has Stuart preparing his Raiders to win it in the 79th minute or beyond if that's what it takes in front of an expected sold-out GIO Stadium

"He (Bennett) has that knack to get the best out of his team and he's obviously had a huge influence on how they're playing this year," Stuart said of his opposite number.  

"They (Rabbitohs) grinded away to a really tough win, it was anybody's game and there was a bit of controversy around it but they just keep finding a way to win Souths.

"They're a quality team in that regard, they've won games this year when they've grinded away and some experience there finds a special moment or a special way to win and it's kept them right in the match."

The Rabbitohs already have a win in the nation's capital this year, having downed Canberra 16-12 back in round 10.

That night the Rabbitohs missed 31 tackles compared to 36 in their win over Manly last weekend.

Of that final tally, Adam Reynolds missed five, something Stuart doesn't expect to happen again despite having the likes of Elliott Whitehead, Jack Wighton and Jarrod Croker on the Raiders' left edge and taking aim at the Rabbitohs playmakers.

"They will be a lot better than that on the weekend," Stuart said of Souths' defence.

"I'm not expecting it to be a game where 10 tries are going to be scored.

"It'll be a tough, semi-final grind and I'll be very surprised if there's 10 tries like last week."

The strong British element in both sides will also play a role, with Stuart preparing his side for an onslaught from Sam Burgess.

"He's a massive influence on their performance and he's a huge contributor to the game," Stuart said.

"He's big, tough, he has that aggressive style of play and he's exactly what semi-final football is all about.

"He's a big-match player and he'll be suited to this type of arena.

Match: Raiders v Rabbitohs

Finals Week 3 -

Full Time
Raiders

Home Team

Raiders

Scored 16 points
Rabbitohs

Away Team

Rabbitohs

Scored 10 points

Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • FOXTEL
  • LIVE PASS

"We've been tested the last number of weeks so this game (on Friday) is another where you want players to stand up and perform, this is where you find out who the big-match players are."

After coming off the bench last start, Josh Papalii's role for Friday night at this stage remains unclear with Stuart saying he will speak to the middle forward about how best to use the 2019 Meninga Medallist.

Nick Cotric (nose) will be right to play which will likely see Baily Simonsson play from the bench if he is included in the starting 17.

Stuart also did not confirm if Ryan Sutton will be included in the side, having made way late for Emre Guler in their last-start win in Melbourne.

Canberra have shown this season they can perform with players in the sin bin.

However, with the ruling of such cases coming under the spotlight last weekend, Stuart reiterated to his side the need for discipline.

"They're smart enough to know in any game of football, let alone in a big game like this, to be really disciplined," he said.

"You don't want to put that pressure on your teammates. There's certain reaction reactions like the (Jake) Trbojevic which is a reaction, an unfortunate one.

"But there's others that are a choice and they're the one that really hurt your teammates."

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