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Merciless Raiders compound Rabbitohs' woes

A slick Canberra outfit has withstood a second-half South Sydney fightback and the loss of two key forwards mid-game to record a 30-18 at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

After racing to a 22-0 lead in the first half, the Raiders lost Shaun Fensom (elbow) in the 32nd minute and Joel Edwards (concussion) in the 48th, playing out the rest of the game with just two men on the bench.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart would have been nervous when the Bunnies closed the gap to 22-12 midway through the second half and looked to get within one try when Nathan Merritt crossed in the corner, but the four-pointer was overturned because Sam Burgess's involvement came from an offside position, in front of John Sutton's dummy-half kick.

The video referee had a more controversial involvement moments later, allowing a Jack Wighton try to stand despite centre Matt Allwood looking to have knocked. A Terry Campese mid-field bomb seemed to flick Allwood's fingers before a Lote Tuqiri knock-on was fielded by Wighton, who strolled over to score.

What could have been 22-18 instead became 28-12 and the Raiders were able to hold on from there, the only further points coming from a Jarrod Croker penalty goal and a late converted Chris McQueen consolation try after the final siren.

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The merciless Raiders side put a butter-fingered Rabbitohs outfit to the sword in a first-half 22-0 shutout.

After looking to be winning the early arm-wrestle the Rabbitohs dissolved in a flurry of handling errors, completing just 10 of 19 possessions and repeatedly invited the Green Machine (looking much more like a blue-and-white machine in their away strip) up into the South Sydney red zone.

The Raiders did not let their foot off the gas in that first half, completing 19 of 21 sets in the biggest difference between the side, and looking a much slicker attacking outfit than in a dour loss to the Titans a week earlier.

Skipper Campese and fullback Anthony Milford were the standouts, with winger Reece Robinson the major beneficiary, scoring the first two tries of the match.

The first came in the 10th minute when a brilliant Campese flat ball put Fensom through the line. The tireless lock almost scored himself but offloaded back to hooker Glenn Buttriss, who fired a cut-out pass to Robinson's flank where the winger picked it up on the bounce and outpaced Souths winger Tuqiri to the corner.

Robinson had his double in the 23rd minute, after an Adam Reynolds dropped ball put the Raiders on the attack. A perfectly weighted Milford chip was marked in the corner by Robinson, with Croker this time nailing the sideline kick after hitting the post with his first effort.

The Raiders made it 16-0 in the 26th minute following a Tuqiri dropped ball, when towering prop Dane Tilse broke a two-year try-scoring drought, charging onto a Buttriss flat ball at the line and crashing through to hand Croker a far easier conversion.

Canberra launched yet another attacking raid on the back of yet another South Sydney error, with Milford cashing in. The brilliant No.1 drew several defenders in a sweeping right-side run, looking to offload then spinning out of the tackle and diving over to score.

The only concern for the slick Green Machine in a dominant first half was a potentially serious elbow injury to Fensom, who immediately left the field and went up the tunnel when the weight of several bodies caused his right arm to buckle in a tackle, preventing him from returning.

The Bunnies started the second half in perfect fashion. Despite continuing to look highly disorganised in attack, a Reynolds last-play run almost came to a shuddering halt but he was able to offload to Sutton who found Dylan Walker, his swerving run earning the Rabbitohs' first points in the 45th minute.

The Raiders had the chance to stretch the lead shortly after when a Milford bullet cut-out pass put winger Bill Tupou over untouched but it was sent upstairs where the video referee noticed the recalled winger had dropped it in the grounding.

That fluffed try looked even more crucial when the gap was closed to 10 as George Burgess smashed over for his first try of 2014, running onto a Sutton short ball from dummy-half.

That was the closest the gap got though, as those two key video calls resulted in Canberra stretching their lead to an unassailable margin to record their second win of the season and consign South Sydney to their third straight loss and another week of soul searching.

Canberra Raiders 30 (Robinson 2, Tilse, Milford, Wighton tries; Croker 5 goals) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 (Walker, George Burgess, McQueen tries; Reynolds 3 goals).

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