The South Sydney Rabbitohs have gone down to the North Queensland Cowboys 20 points to six in their round five clash tonight (Friday) at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville.
A late change by Head Coach Michael Maguire saw Damien Cook start in the hooker position while Sam Burgess moved to prop and Angus Crichton came off the bench to start in lock.
The Cowboys came out strong in their opening minutes, gaining a 40/20 in the first minute of play. The Rabbitohs held their composure and completed two sets in the following minutes yet it would be the Cowboys who would come out on top.
The Cowboys made their first mistake in the 16th minute when Coen Hess knocked on 20 metres out from their try line however the Rabbitohs were unable to make the most of their opportunities, coming up empty handed.
The Rabbitohs were then the next to falter with a dangerous tackle by Damien Cook. The Cowboys made the call to take a shot at gaining the first points for the night when they accepted a two point penalty kick right in front of the uprights after a second dangerous tackle was made by the South Sydney side. The successful goal by Johnathan Thurston gave the Cowboys a two point lead 21 minutes in.
Adam Reynolds followed the oppositions try with a floater starting kick that landed awkwardly in the Cowboys attack resulting in a knock on in goal by Jake Granville. The Rabbitohs took full advantage of the opportunity and although John Sutton thought he had planted the ball over the try line, the attempt was called as a no try after the video referee found the ball was stripped from under him.
The Cowboys added another four points to their lead after a line break from their five-eighth, Michael Morgan resulted in the first try for the night. Thurston extended their lead eight points zero.
The Cowboys gave their home crowd something to cheer about when a quick back line play saw winger Gideon Gela-Mosby with a clear line on the left side of the field resulting in a second try for the home team. The extras would be added by Thurston, leaving the score 14 points to zero marking half time.
The second half saw Anthony Cherrington make his Rabbitohs debut but the Cowboys continued to put pressure on Souths line. The Rabbitohs stepped up and returned the pressure forcing a penalty on the Cowboys as they attempted to play the ball.
In contrast, a quick play the ball from Sam Burgess saw Cook pass the ball off to Walker who slotted a flat ball into Robert Jennings path and sent the centre over for his first Rabbitohs try. Reynolds conversion closed the gap leaving the Rabbitohs trailing six points to 14.
But the Cowboys wouldn’t let the Rabbitohs celebrate for long and added another converted try to the scoreboard.
A big play by Siosifa Talakai saw the centre intercept a Cowboys pass and sprint the majority of the field but an unlucky knock on by Jennings saw the ball back in the possession of the home side.
The Rabbitohs struggled to keep up with the pace of the game and a handful of errors allowed the Cowboys to gain an advantage. But the Rabbitohs didn’t give up and continued to forcefully attack the Cowboys defence but it wouldn’t be enough and the Cowboys would finish off the match and take the two point win.
North Queensland Cowboys 20 (Michael Morgan 1, Gideon Gela-Mosby 1, Shaun Fensom 1 tries; Johnathan Thurston 3 goals)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 (Robert Jennings 1 try; Adam Reynolds 1 goal)