Peach of a night for struggling Souths - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Peach of a night for struggling Souths

By Sharon Mathieson 03/06/2006 11:04:35 PM Comments (0)

David Peachey could be the missing ingredient South Sydney so desperately needs.

The beleaguered club failed to post its first National Rugby League win of the season against Canberra but it came agonisingly close as the Raiders got away with a 24-22 victory at Canberra Stadium.

In the end, Souths halfback Joe Williams's two missed attempts at goal cost his team its first win of 2006.

But if the form Peachey showed in the second half continues, it should only be a matter of time before Souths fans finally celebrate.

Prior to the match, Peachey had just two ball sessions with his new teammates.

The former NSW and Cronulla fullback spent the first half settling in and in the second stanza grabbed the reins, taking on the role of playmaker, becoming involved in a try and even landing a 40-20 kick.

His efforts meant Souths came within two points of Canberra in the 64th minute when Williams scored a converted try from a scrum to make it 18-16 in Canberra's favour and the battling club lifted a notch as it fought for its first victory of the season.

But Canberra, which celebrated its 25th anniversary, refused to go down as the first side to lose to Souths and it seemed the Raiders had sealed the match when Marshall Chalk scored the home team's fourth try in the 74th minute to make it 24-16.

However, South Sydney refused to accept defeat and its determination paid off when prop Peter Cusack scored with 19 seconds remaining.

But Williams's goal still left the visitors trailing by two points.

"It was an outstanding debut by David," Souths coach Shaun McRae said.

"He's had two practice sessions with the team and I reckon tonight he looked as if he'd been with us all season so we're delighted with his contribution. I really felt that he made a difference to our performance tonight."

Peachey signed with Souths this week after being sacked English club Widnes last month and injuries to the Bunnies' line up meant he was immediately promoted into the first grade starting side.

McRae is convinced the effort is the start of something better.

"I'm pretty buoyed by what I saw out there," he said.

"I think it shows that there's confidence and spirit and again I'm probably sounding like a broken record but I'm absolutely convinced that win is not far away."

Souths posted the first points of the match courtesy of a try to centre Paul Mellor.

It didn't take long for Canberra to level when five-eighth Todd Carney scored in the 11th minute.

Raiders skipper Clinton Schifcofske converted the try to give his team a 6-4 lead and take his personal first grade points tally to 1,501.

Tries to winger David Howell and lock Alan Tongue gave Canberra a 18-6 halftime lead.

"The first half we squandered about three or four opportunities and we're not a good enough side at the moment to do that," Schifcofske said.

It was Souths' 12th consecutive loss and follows a week of controversy for the battling club after one of its star players, centre Adam MacDougall, was suspended and fined an undisclosed sum for publicly criticising his team-mates.

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