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South Sydney 18
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Raiders upset sorry Souths
After leading by 22-points at halftime, Canberra dominates a flat Rabbitohs side 30-18 at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has said it is too early to write off his team's premiership hopes but admitted their last two performances may have been the worst since he took over in 2012.
After defeating premiers Sydney Roosters in the season opener game, the Rabbitohs were beaten by Manly and Wests Tigers but neither of those losses compared to their lacklustre and error riddled 30-18 defeat by Canberra at ANZ Stadium.
While the Raiders deserve credit, questions will be asked about what has gone wrong with Souths after finishing just one game short of a grand final the past two seasons and having one of the best rosters in the NRL – although they were without star hooker Issac Luke.
''It is round four – we will get it right,'' Maguire said. ''We are very disappointed but we have to use that disappointment to keep us moving forward as a team.
''When we play with confidence, like we have in the past, things work – but at the moment they are not gelling for us. If we do the things that work for us, that confidence will come back overnight. What we have probably done in the past to a lot of teams is build a lot of pressure but we haven't done that the past two weeks.
''There have been parts of both the last two games that definitely are not the Souths way and we need to find the Souths way again.''
After conceding four tries to trail 22-0 at half-time, the Rabbitohs players were on the receiving end of some harsh words from Maguire.
Souths made nine errors in the first half, and a number of them led to Raiders tries, with winger Reece Robinson scoring twice in the opening 18 minutes.
Souths started the second half desperate to turn the game around, and George Burgess set the tone when he steamrolled Joel Edwards in a charging run that forced the Canberra back-rower off the field for a concussion assessment.
Edwards did not return, and the Raiders were down to 15 players for most of the second half after losing Shaun Fensom with an elbow injury but Souths were unable to fully capitalise on the advantage.
A Dylan Walker try gave Rabbitohs fans in the 16,032 crowd some hope in the 47th minute after halfback Adam Reynolds ran the ball near the Raiders line on the last tackle and second-rower Chris McQueen linked with skipper John Sutton before the boom five-eighth stepped his way inside several defenders to score.
With five consecutive penalties helping to shift momentum Souths' way, Burgess forced his way over to reduce the deficit to 22-12 in the 55th minute and, when Nathan Merritt crossed four minutes, later there was a sense that the home side was going to get out of jail.
However, the try was disallowed after video referees ruled Sam Burgess had been offside when Sutton sent the ball from dummy-half into the legs of David Shillington and the English forward, who had played the ball, then toed it backwards to Reynolds.
A minute later, Canberra five-eighth Jack Wighton got the nod for the try that sealed the win after the video referees ruled a Josh McCrone kick had not been touched by centre Matt Allwood and the ball had been knocked on by Lote Tuqiri.