Rabbitohs beat Raiders but key duo injured

JON TUXWORTH
Last updated 23:32 28/07/2014
John Sutton
Getty Images

NOT PLEASANT: John Sutton grimaces in pain as the medical team attend to him.

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South Sydney's quest to break its premiership drought has copped a huge blow with star players John Sutton and Sam Burgess both suffering injuries in Monday night's 34-18 win over the Raiders in Canberra.

Sutton lasted just five minutes before leaving the field with a medial ligament issue to his right knee, while Sam Burgess didn't finish the match with a right shoulder problem.

Rabbitohs back-rower Ben Te'o was also placed on report for a lifting tackle on Raiders centre Jarrod Croker. 

While the win propelled South Sydney into the top two, their long-suffering fans will be praying the injuries aren't too serious as the club seeks a first title since 1971.

Sutton seems certain to miss at least a few weeks at after he confirmed the diagnosis to Fox Sports.

"The doc said it was very loose, he said if I kept playing you could hurt your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament),'' Sutton said. 

"Hopefully I get it right and I'm back in a few weeks.''

Depending on the severity of Sutton's injury, 22-year-old Luke Keary could be charged with helping steer the ship in the finals.

The news isn't much better for the Raiders, who are now in danger of 'winning' their first wooden spoon since their inaugural 1982 season.

They are now equal last with Cronulla, only ahead of the Sharks thanks to a slightly superior for and against differential.

The only shining light was centre Jarrod Croker's 15th try of the season, levelling up with Parramatta's Semi Radradra atop the NRL top try scorers' list.

Their defensive woes on either edge were ruthlessly exposed, with Keary and Reynolds terrorising Raiders winger Sami Sauiluma with great effect.

An early Croker penalty gave Canberra a 2-0 lead, but the visitors hit back immediately through a try to centre Dylan Walker.

After 10 minutes the hosts' left edge was exposed again when a crossfield kick from Reynolds found unmarked winger Alex Johnston to extend the advantage to 8-2.

In the 27th minute a knock-on from a kick by Sauiluma gave South Sydney attacking field position.

They pounced straight from the scrum, a wrap around play with star fullback Greg Inglis creating room for winger Bryson Goodwin to score.

Early in the second half they were gifted their fourth try when Raiders fullback Anthony Milford left a Walker kick in the belief it was going dead in-goal.

However it stayed just inside the field of play to gift Johnston his second four-pointer of the game and swell the lead to 16-2.

Only poor goalkicking from Reynolds (0-4) kept Canberra in the game, and Sauiluma redeemed himself with one of the tries of the season.

Sauiluma through himself in the air and planted the ball just inside the sideline with a tremendous athletic effort.

It handed Canberra momentum, who hammered the try-line for the next few minutes but couldn't find the breakthrough.

With 18 minutes left Reynolds, who played one of his best games of the year, sealed the win by finishing off a superb Rabbitohs movement to extend the lead to 22-6.

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- Canberra Times

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