South Sydney Rabbitohs v Canberra Raiders
Joel Thompson scores a try. Photo: Steve Christo
A dark week for Canberra became even more miserable last night after South Sydney made the Raiders look inept in defence.
Queensland Origin stars Greg Inglis and David Taylor ran riot in the Rabbitohs' 36-18 win over a woeful Canberra at ANZ Stadium.
Minus star players Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson, who were dumped for breaching the club's drinking policy, Canberra's leaky defence was again exposed, particularly on the edges.
The Rabbitohs could have won by 40 had they not taken their foot off the pedal in the middle 40 minutes of the game.
They simply toyed with the Raiders at times, and coach David Furner must be extremely worried his side fails to stand up defensively when the blowtorch is applied.
Inglis and Taylor simply did as they pleased, and the Raiders' flimsy defence was powerless to do anything about it.
Taylor scored two tries, while Inglis also secured a brace and set up two others playing at left centre.
Rabbitohs hooker Issac Luke was also outstanding.
Canberra's frustration was highlighted when skipper David Shillington shoved Souths forward Sam Burgess in the face after conceding a second-half penalty.
Afterward Inglis needed just one statement to perfectly sum up how badly the Raiders were outplayed.
''There's lapses in our game we need to fix up, we just have to put together an 80 minute performance,'' he said.
In other words, 40 minutes of football is enough to beat Canberra at the moment.
For 60 minutes of the game, the Raiders' discipline and defence was horrendous.
South Sydney raced to a 14-0 lead after 18 minutes, thanks to Inglis's brilliance and four Canberra penalties.
But, it was an Inglis error which turned the match on its head.
Midway through the first half, Inglis looked set to create a fourth Rabbitohs try but knocked on close to Canberra's line.
On the back of greater possession, the Raiders scored three tries in the back end of the first half to trail just 14-12 at half-time.
Centre Jarrod Croker scored twice, the first off a brilliant run and offload from debutant winger Edrick Lee.
And when Joel Thompson crossed out wide on the half-time siren, the Raiders were right back in the contest.
But in the second half, most probably off a blast from coach Michael Maguire, South Sydney woke from its slumber.
After five-eighth Josh McCrone failed to find touch in the 49th minute, Souths scored three tries in eight minutes to end the match as a contest.
The Raiders' season is now in serious danger of extinction after a seventh loss in 11 games.
They face the rejuvenated Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium next Saturday.
Already minus Dugan, Ferguson, Terry Campese and Brett White, Frenchman Dimitri Pelo was a late replacement for Jack Wighton (toe) on the wing.
On the bright side for the Raiders, lock Shaun Fensom (98 metres, 39 tackles, three tackle breaks) must now be coming into serious contention for Origin II for New South Wales.
Reece Robinson was again dangerous filling in for Dugan at fullback.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS 36 (G Inglis 2, D Taylor 2, D Farrell, J Hunt, B Lowe tries; I Luke 3, A Reynolds goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 18 (J Croker 2, R Robinson, J Thompson tries; Croker goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referees: Chris James, Ashley Klein. Crowd: 10,054.