The South Sydney Rabbitohs have turned in a quality performance away from home to defeat the North Queensland Cowboys 28-18 in the Holden Cup under 20’s.
The Rabbitohs led 10-6 at half time, and went on with it in the second half to register the ten-point victory.
Both teams had chances early but it was the home side that would score first when hooker Josh Chudleigh darted over from dummy-half on the back of two back-to-back penalties. Second rower Corey Jensen converted to give the Cowboys a six-nil lead after 14 minutes.
The Cowboys made an error from their first set after points and the Rabbitohs made the most of it, swinging the ball to the left to centre Tevita Cottrell. Cottrell, who was coming off of a man-of-the-match performance for NSW under 18’s last week, held off two defenders to touch down in the left hand corner to reduce the Cowboys’ lead to two after 16 minutes.
The Rabbitohs would be the next to cross when in the 31st minute of play, Wallace Tangiiti put in a deft grubber kick for right side second rower Jack Gosiewski, who pounced on the bouncing ball for the four-pointer. Irae Simone added the extras to give the visitors a 10-6 advantage at the end of the first half.
South Sydney was the first team to score in the second stanza when Cheyne Whitelaw scored under the posts almost untouched, after some well-structured play from the Rabbitohs halves. Simone converted to give the red and greens a 16-6 lead after 53 minutes of play.
The Cowboys scored their second try through front rower Viliame Kikau in the 66th minute, with Jensen’s conversion reducing the deficit to just four points.
The Rabbitohs responded in the best way possible with big Zane Musgrove charging hard at the line from ten metres to score under the posts three minutes later, with Simone’s conversion re-establishing the ten point buffer with less than ten minutes remaining in the match.
The Rabbitohs added a final try three minutes from full time through interchange forward Clayton Williams who also made the most of the space between defenders in the Cowboys’ middle to score under the sticks. Simone added the extras to give the Rabbitohs a 28 points to 12 lead.
Kikau scored a consolation try in the final 20 seconds of the match to take the final score line to 28-18 in favour of the South Sydney side.
The Rabbitohs found their groove in the second half, realising that attacking the Cowboys’ middle would pay dividends. Whitelaw, Cameron McInnes and PJ Los’e were busy all evening, with Brock Gray solid in his under 20s debut.
Rabbitohs 28 (Tevita Cottrell, Jack Gosiewski, Cheyne Whitelaw, Zane Musgrove, Clayton Williams tries; Irae Simone 4 goals)
Cowboys 18 (Viliame Kikau 2, Josh Chudleigh tries; Corey Jensen 3 goals)