The South Sydney Rabbitohs have claimed a hard-fought 26-18 win against the North Queensland Cowboys at Redfern Oval.
An impressive team performance saw the Rabbitohs hold off a second-half comeback against the high-flying Cowboys to claim their first victory since Round 7.
After dominating the early stages of the game, the Rabbitohs were rewarded for their persistence with Cameron Murray opening the scoring after busting through the Cowboys edge defence. Chad O’Donnell converted the try, leaving the score at 6-0 in favour of the home side.
Souths strong start to the match would continue with Angus Crichton backing up the opening try with a four-pointer of his own on his return from injury, charging over from close-range. Once again, O’Donnell would have no issues adding the extra points, setting up a 12-0 score line.
The Cowboys would be the next to score, as Bacho Salam linked up with his outside man to streak away for a long-distance try to keep his side in the match. The score would remain 12-4 as Cooper Bambling’s conversion was waved away.
Following on from their opening try, the visitors would cross once more before the half-time siren, with five-eighth, Ty Carucci, showing great strength close to the line to wrestle his way over. Similarly to his first attempt, the Cowboys skipper was unable to add the extras, leaving the score at 12-8 heading into the sheds.
It wouldn’t take the Rabbitohs long to extend their lead after the break, as Cameron Murray found the line for the second time, barging over close to the line. Chad O’Donnell came up with his first miss of the match, as the score stayed at 16-8.
After back to back penalties to the Rabbitohs in the Cowboys half, the home side opted to take the two points on offer and extend their lead to 18-8. But it wouldn’t take long for the visitors to bounce back, with Nick Lui Toso crossing for North Queensland. The Cowboys struggle with the boot continued, with the score remaining 18-12.
The Townsville-based side would continue their comeback as Bacho Salam claimed his second try of the afternoon, showing skilled footwork and strength at the line to beat his defender on the outside. The scores were locked up at 18 apiece as Cooper Bambling slotted the conversion out wide.
Despite the best efforts of the Cowboys, the deadlock would only be short-lived, as Chad O’Donnell would add to his tally with the boot, leaving the score at 20-18 courtesy of a penalty goal.
The finishing touches would be provided by Maia Sands, as the Rabbitohs rake plunged over the line from dummy-half in the dying moments of the match to secure the Red and Greens first win since Round 7.
Rabbitohs 26 (Cameron Murray 2, Angus Crichton, Maia Sands tries; Chad O’Donnell 5 goals)
Cowboys 18 (Bacho Salam 2, Ty Carucci, Nick Lui Toso, tries; Cooper Bambling 1 goal)