The South Sydney Rabbitohs went down to the North Queensland Cowboys 23-10 in front of a crowd of 11,217 this afternoon (Sunday) in their Round 19 home game at Barlow Park in Cairns.
The Rabbitohs line-up saw a late exclusion of Aaron Gray due to injury with Braidon Burns coming in as his replacement. Robert Jennings came back into the team returning from injury while Head Coach Michael Maguire made some late tactical changes replacing Damien Cook on the interchange bench with Cam Murray.
The Rabbitohs took to the field tackling the North Queensland afternoon heat with temperatures reaching a high of 27 degrees Celsius.
With a focus this week on completing sets, the Rabbitohs were on a good run, with a 100% completion rate after the first ten minutes.
Adam Reynolds kicking precision was on point but it was his running that impressed the crowd.
The Rabbitohs were the first to add points to the scoreboard, when Reynolds showed off his sleek moves running the ball at the line, side stepping his defendant and passing the ball off to Cody Walker who stepped over a Cowboys defender and slid under the posts. Reynolds made his try even sweeter, kicking the conversion straight through the uprights and the Rabbitohs led six points to zero in the 15th minute.
The Cowboys were quick to respond and level the scores with Jason Taumalolo powering through the Rabbitohs defence and scoring in the middle. Ethan Lowes conversion had the scores locked six points each with just over 20 minutes left on the clock.
The Cowboys added another four-pointer bringing the Rabbitohs into the middle before sending the ball out wide for winger Kyle Feldt to take the ball over the line. Lowe missed the conversion and the Rabbitohs fell behind six points to the Cowboys 10.
The Cowboys would make it to the Rabbitohs line again this time through Hess mirroring his team’s first try in the afternoon. Lowe made up for his previously missed conversion marking the final points for the half and the Rabbitohs had some catching up to do falling behind six points to 16.
At half-time the Rabbitohs had a completion rate of 82% and held just a little less possession than the Cowboys with 47% compared to their 53%.
The second half saw the Cowboys extend their lead further, with Granville finding a gap in the Rabbitohs defence and placing the ball down for their fourth try. The successful conversion pushed the Rabbitohs further behind six points to 22.
The Rabbitohs continued to run the ball and apply pressure on the Cowboys defence but clinical errors again got to the Souths side. Yet they found their momentum in the 68th minute with a quick pass from Reynolds to Jennings who flicked it out wide to Burns to fly into the corner. Reynolds conversion unluckily hit the posts and the Rabbitohs were still behind ten points to 22.
WIth three minutes remaining on the clock, Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote took a shot at goal nailing his field goal and adding a point to their lead.
The Rabbitohs kept up their effots but couldn’t capitalise on their chances and the Cowboys proved too good on the day taking home a 23-10 victory.
North Queensland Cowboys 23 (Jason Taumalolo, Kyle Feldt, Coen Hess, Jake Granville tries; Ethan Lowe 3 goals; Lachlan Coote field goal)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 (Cody Walker, Braidon Burns tries; Adam Reynolds goal)