Cody Walker has fired the South Sydney Rabbitohs to their fifth win in a row with the Bunnies piling on 6 unanswered tries to down the North Queensland Cowboys 46 points to 18 in Newcastle on Friday night.
Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Cowboys
The Rabbitohs made the trek north with some fresh faces in place of their State of Origin stars, and with the reshuffle demonstrated that they have enough quality in their ranks to continue their winning form, with Cody Walker leading the way and lighting the game up in the back end of the first half before ultimately laying on 4 try assists and 6 line break assists on route to victory.
Souths put the Cowboys under pressure early, forcing multiple line dropouts in the wet conditions, and took their first points via a penalty after Scott Drinkwater put the restart out on the full, but momentum shifted back to the Cowboys after tied the scores with a penalty conversion during an early visit to Rabbitohs territory before taking the lead a few minutes later through young half Tom Dearden following a midfield bomb that the Rabbitohs weren't able to defuse.
The Cowboys crossed for their second try shortly after when Jason Taumalolo burst through the middle defense of the Rabbitohs with a barnstorming run and the Cowboys support finished the play through Shane Wright, and it looked like the Cowboys would make the match a tight contest.
The Rabbitohs stayed patient though and were rewarded when exciting youngster Blake Taffe broke through, finishing off a slick move down their potent left edge to score the first NRL try of his career. Then, Cody Walker caught fire, setting up three tries in quick succession to close out the first half; a quick double of near-identical tries for Taane Milne on the right side, before swinging back to the left and dishing up another try for Alex Johnston's towering tally. The Rabbitohs hit the sheds up 22 points to 12 and in control.
Match: Rabbitohs v Cowboys
Round 17 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
The second half started a series of high tackles with Liam Knight being placed on report for a high shot on Tom Dearden before Heilum Luki was sent to the sin bin for a high shot on young hooker Peter Mamouzelos. Adam Reynolds slotted the conversion to make it 24 - 12.
The Rabbitohs made the most of the time with the extra man when Alex Johnston crossed for their 5th unanswered try, making it 5 games in a row where he bagged a double.
Big Tom Burgess stormed over for a score under the sticks before Taane Milne made it a hattrick, again courtesy of a fantastic assist from Cody Walker bringing the score to 40-12.
Not to be outdone - Benji Marshall set up Alex Johnston with his third of the night with a cutout ball that left 'AJ' with some work to do to beat Kyle Feldt and plant the ball to the line for his 22nd try of the year, just one short of 2020 tally. Feldt got one back to close out the match with a consolation score, but the night belonged to the Rabbitohs who now prepare to face the Bulldogs on Sunday night.