29th April 2021, 08:40 | nrl

NRL Preview | Round 8

NRL Preview | Round 8

Canberra look to end losing streak

England playmaker George Williams admits he has taken Canberra’s three successive NRL defeats personally but believes the Raiders can bounce back to beat South Sydney on Thursday. 

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has reacted to last weekend’s 26-24 loss to North Queensland by “resting” Kangaroos prop Josh Papali’i from the Souths clash but Williams said the team just need to play for the full 80 minutes. 

The Raiders led 24-6 in Townsville before an error by Williams just before halftime allowed the Cowboys into the match and they scored three unanswered tries before Valentine Holmes broke the deadlock with a 69th minute penalty goal. 

“I dropped the ball and they scored, and momentum was with them for the rest of the game,” Williams said. “Them errors are massive pressure releases for other teams. 

“I beat myself up about that but there are plenty of areas that obviously more individuals can be angry or upset with but we have just got to stick together as a team now. 

“Obviously we have had a bit of adversity and to lose three in a row is never nice but as disappointing as it is we are not a million miles away.” 

In contrast, the Rabbitohs are unbeaten in six matches since their round one loss to Melbourne and fought back from a 24-10 half time deficit to down the Gold Coast Titans 40-30 last weekend. 

Kiwi superstar Benji Marshall sealed the win with a 70thminute try as the NRL’s oldest player wound the clock back after being called in to start at five-eighth in a backline reshuffle following the suspension of Latrell Mitchell. 

However, Williams is confident the Raiders, who will again be without injured England hooker Josh Hodgson, can return to the winner’s circle against Souths. 

“They are really good with the ball and their shape is really good attacking wise but we have just got to find a way out of it,” Williams said. 

“As bad as it is, we know we have got it in us. There are signs that we are still a good team. We have just got to do it for 80 minutes.  

“There is big comparisons between our first and second half performances and that is what we have got to address.” 

Round 8 of the NRL continues on Friday, with Melbourne hosting Cronulla and the Titans travelling to Brisbane for the south-east Queensland derby and the chance to add more misery to the Broncos season. 

The unbeaten Penrith Panthers take on the in-form Manly Sea Eagles on Saturday, ahead of the western Sydney derby between Parramatta and Canterbury, who last weekend had their first win of the season over the Sharks. 

Newcastle and Sydney Roosters also play on Saturday, while the Warriors meet the Cowboys on Sunday and Wests Tigers travel to Wollongong looking for just their second win of the season against St George Illawarra.