South Sydney have stood strong and repelled a courageous Raiders outfit to claim their sixth win a row 16-12 at GIO Stadium.
The match of the round took a while to warm up. A try-less first half was littered with penalties as the wrath of the referees came down on South Sydney skipper Sam Burgess. From the first eight penalties the Rabbitohs conceded, he gave away five of them. His brother George Burgess conceded two more.
However, a try to Cody Walker soon after half-time off the back of a seven-tackle set gave the visitors the momentum needed as to hang in there for their ninth win of the season.
The loss for Canberra is another heartbreaking one, with Ricky Stuart's men losing by a combined 10 points against the Roosters and Rabbitohs in the space of a week.
Allan tackle on Croker saves certain try
Things started off on a slightly sour note with two penalties in a row for the Raiders being offside. Souths elected to take points with Adam Reynolds slotting the easy shot to make it 2-0.
Souths looked set to camp in the Raiders 20-metre area after earning back to back sets, but a one-on-one strip and penalties released the pressure on the home side.
The clash quickly resembled a heavyweight fight, with both packs standing toe-to-toe in the middle of the field with neither flinching.
Match: Raiders v Rabbitohs
Round 10 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
- LIVE PASS
Jarrod Croker also decided to take the easy points off the back of three penalties from the Rabbitohs, with the side's locked up at 2-2 after 19 minutes.
The feeling in the game started to bubble to the surface, with Sam Burgess and Hudson Young getting into an altercation before Burgess turned his attention to a few others in the Raiders pack.
The home side looked set to score first after Josh Hodgson drifted across field with Josh Papalii charging through a yawning gap only to be held up short after colliding heavily with the post - and Souths lock cameron Murray.
Burgess continued to be goaded by the Raiders and it ended up with Croker putting the home side ahead 4-2.
The frenetic pace of the game was slowed in the 31st minute when Liam Knight and Hodgson had their heads bandaged after a heavy tackle.
A lazy effort in the tackle by George Burgess saw the Souths prop take Jack Wighton high, giving Croker another shot at goal. But the ball hit the left-hand upright and rebounded into the hands of the home side before the Rabbitohs gave away yet another penalty in their 20-metre area.
Hiroti scores first NRL try at crucial time
Croker made no mistake with his second chance, as Canberra lead 6-2. But then they caught the penalties bug on their own goal line, giving Reynolds another easy shot on goal to make it 6-4 at half-time.
Souths looked to have got the perfect start to the second half when John Sutton scurried through to pounce on a grubber into the in-goal only for the video referee to rule the Rabbitohs veteran lost possession.
A misread from the Raiders in defence saw a huge gap open up in the 50th minute with the away side scoring the first try of the game to Cody Walker and shoot to a 10-6 lead.
But the Raiders replied nine minute later through a Nic Cotric break before Elliott Whitehead backing up had halfback Sam Williams inside him. Canberra snaffled back the lead 12-10 with 20 minutes to play.
Souths hit back against a back-peddling Raiders team with the Bunnies shifting the ball to their right with Mawene Hiroti crossing out wide off a sublime Walker pass.
Reynolds nailed the sideline conversion and the game was set for a thrilling finish, with the visitors edging ahead 16-12 with less than 10 minutes remaining.
A mistake from the Rabbitohs gave the home side a golden chance late to steal the game, with Croker seemingly over the line only for the ball to be jolted loose in the tackle.
A clutch strip from Raiders forward Corey Horsburgh saw the Green Machine get one last crack. But Rabbitohs stand-in fullback Corey Allan swallowed up a close-range grubber to keep the victory intact.