Canberra Raiders (@1.44) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (@2.87)

Our Prediction:

Canberra Raiders will win

Canberra Raiders – South Sydney Rabbitohs Match Prediction | 27-09-2019 05:50

If youve had enough of power plays, rumblings of discontent and leadership spills this week in Canberra, then 3pm Saturday should provide the perfect distraction! The Raiders enter this game on a high having knocked off the Roosters 14-12 in a gutsy defensive scrap. Afternoon footy returns to the nations capital as the Raiders host the Rabbitohs in Round 23 of the premiership.

In the two games since, theyve already amassed four line breaks and are averaging 220 run metres per game. Across the opening four rounds of the competition, the Rapana-Leilua combination had made just one line break. Hows this for a reversal in form?

Sebastian Kris was named to fill Simonsson's place on the bench. Aidan Sezer and Royce Hunt were the last two men left out an hour before game time. Emre Guler and Jack Murchie were omitted 24 hours prior to kick off. Ricky Stuart also opted to move Nick Cotric to centre and Michael Oldfield to wing. Raiders: One forced change on the wing, with Bailey Simonsson replacing injured Jordan Rapana (knee). The Raiders are otherwise intact and aiming to make up for last week's loss to the Roosters.

His jack-of-all-trades footy and the eyes up mentality that he brings to the Bunnies is a must need for the structure that Wayne Bennett sides tend to have; he is well ahead of previous years in receptions and try assists, which indicates how important he is to their attack: a more involved Walker the better the result for South Sydney. Coming up against one of the benchmark of the NRL, Cody needs to play his natural game while being calculated with his kicks, and if he doesnt measure most of his plays as sometimes he can do and become frustrated it could undo much of the work the forwards do to help him succeed, but also have Roosters dominate from the missed opportunities. Since then its been a slower rise back to that form, but over the past month since Souths have built confidence again, he has become potent once more. Cody Walker has been one of the Rabbitohs most consistent this year and a focal point in their attack. The five-eighth was out of this world in the opening weeks of the competitions with brilliant solo efforts but also getting the lucky bounce his way.

Saturday 25th August, GIO Stadium, 3:00 pm AEST.

In a forward pack that has been lauded for its crash-bang approach, it is the subtlety of Suttons game that has proved most impressive. With the absence of Sam Burgess, Sutton has been amongst the Rabbitohs best in recent games against the Dragons and the Roosters. Labeled too old and too slow to continue in the top grade, many questioned Souths decision to re-sign club legend, John Sutton. He has straightened the Bunnies attack when needed and provided an added dimension to Souths left edge as a ball playing forward. Those concerns have been appeased over the past two weeks with Suttons experience and a level-head coming to the fore. Coming off a mediocre 2017 in an under-performing Rabbitohs pack, there were genuine concerns that Sutton would bring little to a Rabbitohs side that desperately needed an injection of youth.

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After a season to forget for Ricky Stuart and his Raiders, spirits would have been high after their defeat of the Roosters. After a disappointing showing against the Broncos last weekend, expect the Rabbitohs to bounce back in a big way. Canberra will be gunning for a second big scalp against the Rabbitohs on Saturday, especially in front of a vocal home crowd. The return of three key players for the Bunnies is huge, and comes at the perfect time as they look to build into the finals series.

The loss of Alex Johnston poses a problem for Souths having had minimal disruption to their 17 all year but the Raiders still have several key players missing and that could prove to be the difference with the Rabbitohs able to edge this one. Canberra pushed Sydney Roosters close last week and face another tough task as they host South Sydney. The Rabbitohs have lost just once all season but will know they have a game on their hands against a tricky Raiders side with this a difficult game to call.

Jack Wighton has a difficult challenge against Cody Walker - one of the NRL's hottest players - while the battle between Josh Hodgson and Damien Cook - two of the best hookers in the world - should be a classic. But both teams boast a strong UK contingent and you can bet Sam Burgess and his brothers will be hungry to mix it up with countrymen Hodgson, Elliott Whitehead and Ryan Sutton.

Recent meetings

What was a dire start to the season had the Raiders 0-4 and rooted to the bottom of the ladder but two recent victories have seen them climb to a more respectable 11th position as we enter Round 7. The Raiders come into this game off the back of two straight wins. Fullback Jack Wighton is facing fresh charges for a late-night altercation while talk continues that both Blake Austin and Josh Papalii are on the outer. Ricky Stuart has done a remarkable job of maintaining a united front in the nations capital to this point but any more losses and cracks may show. The Raiders have had to do it tough, getting those wins with plenty of unwanted distraction.

While the Raiders have little more than pride left to play for, there will be no shortage of fire on the field. This is the Raiders final home game of 2018 and in a season to forget for the club, theyll want to give their fans plenty to cheer about as the Green Machine blares over the speakers at GIO Stadium.

Walkers been on fire for Souths, with 10 tries in 9 games, including four against the NZ Warriors. While Wighton can make mistakes, he quickly bounces back with his improved kicking game and some tenacious defence. Wighton has grown into the five eighth role, combining with Sam Williams to drive Canberra into the top four and score five tries himself. Wightons familiarity with Bruce Stadium should tip this close contest Canberras way.