The South Sydney Rabbitohs have hit back to claim a 16-4 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys tonight (Saturday) at ANZ Stadium, leading for the full 80 minutes.
After faltering in the dying minutes of round 23 against the Broncos at Redfern Oval, the men in red and green put in a controlled performance that included well-orchestrated attacking plays on the fringes, as well as steely defence to account for the Cowboys.
With just four minutes gone, the Rabbitohs took advantage of a Cowboys mistake to charge up-field and eventually race through via John Olive 15 metres in from touch. Devon Makoare-Boyce missed the conversion attempt to leave the score at 4-0.
An arm-wrestle ensued before Olive was at it again – this time finishing off a break by running 30 metres towards the touch-line to get his second of the afternoon. Makoare-Boyce converted from the just inside the side-line to make it 10-0.
Olive continued his good form by almost setting up a try for Makoare-Boyce with 10 minutes in the first half remaining on the back of another break. But the opportunity was diffused by the Cowboys on the back of some desperate defence.
Despite some positive play on both sides of half-way in the dying minutes of the opening stanza, neither side was able to convert their opportunities into further points, taking the sides into the sheds with Souths leading 10-0.
On the resumption, steely defence on both sides ensured that neither side would cross the stripe, taking until 13 minutes before full-time for points to be scored again in the match.
Sam Manuleleua broke the point-scoring drought though when he took an inside pass to score in the corner for the Rabbitohs. Makoare-Boyce added a screamer from the side-line to make it 16-0 with 11 minutes remaining.
But the Cowboys wouldn’t go home empty-handed – a short-side attacking play saw winger Hayden Crowley in the far ANZ Stadium corner to make it 16-4 to round out the match.
Rabbitohs 16 (John Olive 2, Sam Manuleleua, tries; Devon Makoare-Boyce 2 goals)
Cowboys 4 (Hayden Crowley, try)