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Raiders Celebrate Papalii’s 250th Game with Third Straight Win

The Canberra Raiders celebrated Josh Papalii’s 250th game with a convincing 32-12 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Dubbo on Sunday afternoon.

The Raiders have now won three games in a row and put themselves on equal competition points with the top eight. It was another great first half by the Raiders who went into the break with a 20-0 lead before finishing the job in the second half.

Milestone man Josh Papalii was great in his 250th game, running for 116 metres and scoring the second try of the match.

Jack Wighton was also great in his return from suspension with a line break and a try assist as well as some great defensive plays.

It was a strong start for the Raiders, after earning some great field position it was a beautiful cut out pass by Jack Wighton who set up Nick Cotric for the first try of the match in the fourth minute. Schneider’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful from the left corner.

The Raiders left side attack looked outstanding to start the game as Nick Cotric made a line break to give the green machine great attacking field position. 

The Raiders failed to capitalise but forced an error from the Rabbitohs through some brutal defence on their goal line.

It didn't take long after that error for the milestone man Josh Papalii to crash over for the Raiders second try. Schneider was again unsuccessful in his conversion attempt, keeping the Raiders lead to eight points after 15 minutes.

The Rabbitohs came close to scoring off the back of a penalty and six again but some great scramble defence from the Raiders kept them scoreless for the time being. 

The Raiders defence seemed to be unbreakable, the Rabbitohs had numerous attacking sets off the back of some set restarts but a great hit by Papalii forced another error from the home side.

After more goal line defence, the Raiders were able to turn the ball over and earn themselves a penalty but to capitalise with more points.

The Raiders were rewarded for their brave defence with the third try of the match. A great short ball from Starling put Hudson Young over in the 31st minute. 

Rapana took over the goal kicking duties and slotted the first conversion of the match to extend the Raiders lead to 14-0.

Unfortunately the Raiders made a crucial error while coming out from their own goal line which gifted the Rabbitohs more field position. However, Wighton was able to force another error from the home side.

The Raiders scored a phenomenal team try, Horsburgh made a great run and offloaded it to Young who then made a no-look pass to Starling. Starling then made one final offload to Kris who crossed over in the 38th minute. 

Rapana converted on the stroke of halftime to give the Raiders a 20-0 lead at the break.

Unfortunately Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad left the field at halftime with a hamstring injury which gave Xavier Savage an opportunity at fullback in the second half.

After having to defend some great field position to start the half, the Raiders were able to retrieve the ball after a short goal line drop out and go on the counter attack.

During that set, Rapana and Timoko linked up to score the first try of the second half as Timoko crossed over in the right corner. Rapana was unable to convert from the right sideline, keeping the Raiders lead to 24-0.

It took until the 51st minute but the Rabbitohs were finally able to score their first try of the match through some individual brilliance by Damien Cook. TaafFe converted to bring the Raiders lead to 18 points. 

The Rabbitohs came close to scoring their second but Rapana was able to shut down an attacking kick. 

The Rabbits put more defensive pressure on the green machine but it was Jack Wighton who turned momentum after nearly scoring a full field try. 

The Raiders earned a penalty off the back of their great field position and capitalised through a penalty goal, extending their lead to 20 points with less than 20 minutes remaining.

The Raiders turned defence into attack once again when Rapana picked up a loose ball to run down the sideline. 

It was then Xavier Savage who cut through the Rabbitohs defence with pure speed to score his first try of 2022. Another try was converted by Rapana as the Raiders led 32-6 with 12 minutes remaining. 

The Rabbitohs then capitalised off a Raiders mistake through a scrum play which saw Alex Johnston score in the left corner. Taaffe converted to bring the margin back to 20 points.

The Raiders created a few more chances in the final moments off the match but failed to capitalise and extend their lead.

The Raiders went on to defeat the Rabbitohs 32-12 and now sit in ninth place on the ladder. The green machine will return home to take on the Eels next Sunday at GIO Stadium.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.