The South Sydney Rabbitohs have gone down to the North Queensland Cowboys by 22-10 at ANZ Stadium tonight (Saturday) in round 24 of the NRL.
With the Cowboys’ top eight berth on the line, the visitors burst straight out of the box in the match to score four tries to two to take the two competition points.
The Rabbitohs immediately found themselves under siege when Greg Inglis was taken over the side-line 10 metres out, gifting the visitor’s first crack at points.
A combination of penalties and solid play earned the Cowboys four repeat sets on the Rabbitohs line, but with their defence holding strong, a high tackle eventually provided Johnathan Thurston with an opportunity to kick his team ahead from 15 metres out to take an early two nil lead with 10 minutes gone.
The Cowboys backed it up not long after when Johnathan Thurston threw an inside ball to Jason Taumalolo, who darted his way through the remaining Rabbitohs defenders to pick up his side’s first try of the night, 10 metres in from touch. Thurston added the extras to make it 8-0.
It was all North Queensland in the opening 20 minutes of the first half, with Kyle Feldt racing over in the corner to extend the visitors’ lead to 12-0.
The Rabbitohs attacked the Cowboys line but were unable to break through. Instead, it was Feldt who would come up with points again for the visitors with just four minutes in the first half remaining. Thurston’s conversion attempt hit the up-right, taking the teams to the sheds with the Cowboys leading 16-0.
On the resumption, the Rabbitohs threw everything they had at the Cowboys in the opening exchanges, marching up-field on the back of some solid forward running as well as a brace of penalties. Luke Keary nearly capped off the positive play with a four-pointer, but the video referee denied the young five-eighth, ruling the ball had gone over the dead-ball line before being grounded.
Twelve minutes into the second half, Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein finished off a well-orchestrated set-play to score just inside the touch-line. Thurston added the extras to make it 22-0.
With 24 minutes in the match remaining, Dylan Walker seized an opportunity down the short-side before chipping back inside – the ball eventually ending up in the hands of Joe Picker, who crashed over for the side’s first try of the match. Adam Reynolds added the extras to make it 22-6.
Souths turned back the clock with 14 minutes left by steam-rolling the Cowboys’ scrum and winning the ball against the feed – the Rabbitohs forwards putting in a mighty effort to push North Queensland off the scrum mark.
Five minutes from full-time, a short-side play from close-range put Alex Johnston over the try-line for Souths’ second of the night to make it 22-10 to round out the match.
Cowboys 22 (Jason Taumalolo, Kyle Feldt 2, Antonio Winterstein, tries; Johnathan Thurston 2 goals)
Rabbitohs 10 (Joe Picker, Alex Johnston, tries; Adam Reynolds 1 goal)